I hold the opinion that Huntsman has comparatively poor ways to generate temporaty hit points (THP) when put next to other ranged-focused careers. In order to make my point, let’s first look at what methods he has.
- On melee stagger, based on the strength of the stagger and the number of enemies hit
- On kill, based on the health of the enemy killed
- Generate 4 THP per second (24 in total) when Hunter’s Prowl is used
#1 and #2 are mutually exclusive (level 20 talents) while #3 can be used independently (level 25 talent).
Let’s talk about the level 20 talents first.
THP on stagger:
Likely the least suitable option for Huntsman, but it can situationally yield generous amounts of white HP. If you use a weapon with high stagger on push (shields) and push into high density you can generate a fair bit of health. One downside is that a situation in which you can make use of this fully is not all that common: mostly at the beginning of hordes in narrow quarters.
Another downside is that low-mobility weapons generally don’t suit Huntsman very well: most of his power is in his ranged weapon, so having the mobility to disengage and get into a favorable shooting position faster is generally the preferred option.
As for the higher mobility weapons, the one-handed mace is likely the best option with this trait, as it has good cleave and decent stagger. However, if it’s just used normally by swinging into the horde, it will still generally yield more white HP with THP on kill.
This ties into another downside: most weapons will simply kill the enemy, robbing you of most of the THP they might have given you. Unless you very deliberately herd enemies to create high density so you can generate health by pushing them. This is the main way to make use of this talent effectively, which runs a bit contrary to the idea that you’re supposed to kill the enemy. It requires both you and your team to slow down.
THP on kill:
My preferred option at level 20, but still hardly a good one. With most weapons it will outperform THP on stagger, but it has a downfall.
Now, THP on kill is a good talent for generating health. If you are good at killing elites in melee, seeing as it scales with the health of the enemy. Huntsman’s primary strength is his ability to eliminate elites at range. As such his preferred method of engaging them is to shoot, which won’t yield white HP. Even if he does engage elites in melee, he is far less likely to score the final blow than a class better geared for melee combat.
Against most small enemies, he will generate small amounts of health. Slave rats, for example, require you to kill something like four of them just to gain 2 hp.
Looking at the two options above, on-kill in my experience is the option that yields the most extra health, unless you very deliberately change your way of fighting hordes so as to not kill them. Even then you rely on your team not killing your herds before you’ve milked them.
However, even if normally THP on kill yields more, the amount is still not impressive as it relies on melee elite kills to be comparable to better health traits not available to huntsman.
Now that we’ve looked at the level 20 talents (and seen that they are bad), let’s have a look at his third option for generating health.
THP on Hunter’s Prowl:
This generates 4 THP per second over the duration of the ability, giving you 24 THP in total. Unlike the others, we have hard numbers for this one, which makes it much easier to compare to other things.
There are three other careers with a similar talent option: Waystalker, Ranger Veteran, and Pyromancer all have the option to choose a talent that grants them 50 THP when they use their special abilities.
There are two main differences:
- Their abilities generate all the THP instantly, whereas Huntsman generates his over time.
- Their abilities generate about twice the amount of THP.
It’s pretty clear that Huntsman’s version is not up to snuff. Not only in comparison to these other careers, but it’s hard to give up the reduced cooldown or some potentially juicy breakpoints from the 20% power talent for a mere 24 temporary hit points.
As for level 20 talents (in general, not just for Huntsman), my opinion is that the king is THP on headshot/crit, while THP on cleave is the prince. THP on kill comes in third (the knight?), but relies on the character being good at killing elites in melee to keep up. Huntsman generally doesn’t succeed on that front, and as such it’s not a great option for him.
Having either of the other two options would make his THP generation much more consistent and reliable. THP on headshot/crit suits Huntsman very well thematically in my opinion, and would be an obvious candidate to replace THP on stagger with. (I do think that THP on crit/headshot is slightly overtuned in general, but that’s beyond the scope of this discussion.)
Regarding his level 25 talent, making it closer to the other special ability THP talents would make it much more desirable.
That is all. Any thoughts?