Demon You-Know-Whats

I feel kind of a duty to write about Demon Hunters today, since yesterday I and a few million of my closest friends (I am sure some of you were among them, did you see me wave?) dipped a toe into those green fel waters. I spent enough time with my new DH to get to level 100 and knock out a couple of invasion scenarios, so understand from this that I am still basically at the “roll face on keyboard” stage of proficiency.

Before I get started with a few comments about the actual experience, I have to point out what I think is the worst part of this new class: the name. To me, it is yet another poke at hunters from the people at Blizz who seem to have the mission of destroying us as a unique class — “Haha, Hunters, even your name will no longer be unique!!” If you are someone who does not have a hunter as a main, think how you would feel if Blizz had opted to call the new class Demon Warrior, Demon Death Knight, Demon Mage, Demon Shaman, etc. I know it is not a big thing, but it is a thing, and coming along with the batch of other ill-advised and class-altering changes to hunters, it just seems to pour salt in the wound.

Anyway, my first impressions of the DH, Broken Shores, and initial invasion experiences.

Technical issues. I did not experience any show-stopping ones, but there were plenty of major annoyances — frequent disconnects, periods of huge lag, login issues, getting ported out of the Broken Shores scenario once and having to start it all over, and a weird thing with non-DH alts where I was locked out of my garrison. Also, the new CRZ seems still broken in a big way — one small group I was in could not seem to get phased into the same server at the same time, and there were a couple of hairy times when the only people I could see fighting parts of an invasion scenario were myself and 2-3 others (we died frequently, and once the scenario reset completely from the beginning).

I suppose Blizz considers the rollout a success, but when you think about it, they have been testing the crap out of this for months now, and still much of it played like a beta version. Let’s just say it did nothing to boost my confidence in what will happen the day Legion launches.

DH starting area and initial leveling. OK, this was fun. While I am not a fan of dark gloomy spaces in this game, I thought the DH starting area of Mardum was downright panoramic in terms of the space, the artwork, the story line, everything. It drew me in, in a way that the DK starting place never was able to. Huge kudos to the team that designed this experience.

The leveling process from 98 to 100 went fast. I am slow, and it only took me a bit over two hours. The leveling quests are all pretty easy, pegged to the spells you have available and increasing a tiny bit in challenge as you get new ones. The starting quests also give you a little bump in gear, and it is organized to upgrade your green starter gear one slot at a time with few if any duplicates.

As I mentioned, the story line is well integrated with the quests, and it does an excellent job of establishing the whys and wherefores of Demon Hunters. By the time you are out of the starting area, you really have a sense of class identity and of the role the class is to play in Legion.

While I enjoyed most of the cutscenes, I did find a few of them tedious. In particular, the final cutscene, where your DH is being set free from Mardum, was far too long and frankly boring. For one thing, it is not a true movie-like cutscene, it is more of an edgy comic book animation that was interesting to me because of the artwork for about 20 seconds, after which I realized the dialogue was mostly insipid filler. I literally went downstairs, made a sandwich, and the scene was still droning on by the time I carried the sandwich back upstairs.

DH playstyle. Honestly, I have no idea about this. The double jumping, the space-bar induced wings when you are falling, the combat moves that cause you to careen forward and backwards, the near-invulnerability of Metamorphosis — all these are great fun, no question about it. Also quite powerful. By the time my DH got to ilevel 687, she was often doing 40-50k DPS, even with me knowing zero about how to optimize her play.

What this says to me is that some gigantic nerfs will be forthcoming. Some of my guildies reported last night that they were unable to get into any raids with their DHs because Blizz was not yet allowing it — there was an error message to that effect. I think that means Blizz understands that DHs are overpowered, that without some major adjustments many WoD raid achievements will be rendered trivial with heavy DH teams. I don’t follow developments in PvP, but there is no way some of the DH abilities will ever make it into that venue, in my opinion.

As an aside, one interesting thing about DHs is that they currently only have two levels of talents — 99 and 100. It seems their talent structure will be an anomaly for WoW classes, as the levels once Legion goes live will be: 99, 100, 102, 104, 106, 108, 110. They will end up with the same number of tiers as other classes, but the tier numbers will be different. ??

As to raiding with DHs in Legion, we will have to see what happens. I hope raids and instances have not been designed with the current DH abilities in mind, because that would mean each team would be more or less required to have a DH member for some fights. (“Bring the class, not the player,” which I am sure is what Blizz has always said, right? …. “Four legs good, two legs better!“) The alternative would seem to be to design raids to specifically guard against DH advantages. In the absence of either of these strategies, we will likely be in for a long series of DH nerfs as players discover how to “beat” the game venues.

Late edit: It’s possible that the only restriction on DH participation in raids, etc., is a 24-hr one, to preclude people continually re-rolling a new DH to get around lockouts. I did not attempt to queue for any, so I did not actually see the error message.

My final word (for today) on DHs is that, while very fun and innovative, this seems to be an unfinished class still in its beta form for all practical purposes. I think that, once again, Blizz has failed to fully anticipate the cascading effects of these new mechanics. It may only now be dawning on them that there are rippling effects throughout much of the game, and we will certainly be seeing some fairly wild back and forth swings as they discover what has been broken by introducing this class.

Broken Shores scenario. It’s well done, well designed, and a well told story. (When it does not glitch.) That said, I am very glad Blizz has allowed us to opt out of it for alts once we have done it on one character.

Another late edit: Apparently Blizz has not implemented this option (to skip) in live. If you have 10 alts, you will be doing BS scenario 10 times. Ugh. I sincerely hope that does not mean they have reversed themselves on the policy — being able to skip was a great quality of life improvement.

Invasions. I only did a couple of these last night, so I don’t have much experience with them. (But I can say for absolute certainty that Azshara has to be given some new cemeteries — the trek back to your body if you die is nothing short of brutal right now.) They seem challenging enough without being impossible (unless the CRZ god has awarded you only a couple of players, in which case they are far too “challenging”). As there are multiple phases to each one, they do take a while to complete, 20 minutes or so was my experience — a lot longer if the group is having a problem downing the last couple of mini bosses.

Completing each phase, along with the entire scenario, grants you Nethershards, a currency you can redeem for 700-level blue gear (some of which can be upgraded) and transmog sets. What this means for me is that I will probably try to do all of them on my DH, since that is the alt most in dire need of gear.

All in all, I give the new stuff from this build a semi-enthusiastic thumbs up. For now. But I still wish they would change the new class’s name.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

2 Responses to Demon You-Know-Whats

  1. Grumsta says:

    Re “Some of my guildies reported last night that they were unable to get into any raids with their DHs because Blizz was not yet allowing it “. Your late edit is accurate, it is a limitation built in to stop people rolling, levelling, mount hunting, deleting, rinse, repeat. Similarly why you can only have one DH per server and need a level 70+ character on that server to create one.

    While waiting for new Invasions to spawn I spent the time doing free portals from SW to Dalaran, the Shrine, Theramore and Stormshield. I’d say about 80% of my customers were DHs.

    I have only taken part in two pre-expansion launches, and this one beats the pitiful WoD effort hands down. Having the invasions, DHs and Broken Shore all launch at once I initially found frustrating (wanting to do everything at once, all those new toys to play with) but it probably spreads the server load out a bit and mitigates the issues we’ve already seen. I’m encouraged so far by the effort that Blizz have put in, it’s encouraging for what will come later. [I fully expect launch week to be a nightmare, whether due to bugs, capacity or DDoS attacks. If I get to play for even a few hours it’ll be an improvement over WoD.]

    My main issue was self-inflicted. After the Broken Shore scenario I returned to SW and found that there was only me and a couple of other players there, and weirdly the post boxes were missing. For an hour or so I thought it was a phasing or CRZ issue, but after discussing the BS scenario with another guildie I realised I hadn’t actually finished. D’oh. Back to throne room and speak to the DH with the big ! above his head.

    I like the idea of the invasions. The combat is much more spread-out than I expected, and although you can do them on any character 10 – 100 I wouldn’t like to do it without being able to fly. But I like the way they’re presented on your map so you know where to head, and that the phases have something a bit different to them. Once I’ve done all six I won’t bother doing any more as I only want the pet and the achievements from them. Hopefully the invasions will change as we get nearer to launch: I know they’ll be more frequent, maybe some capital cities will get hit too? That new park looks a tempting target….. 😀

    • Fiannor says:

      We had a few guildies complaining about “missing mailboxes” in SW also, and it took us a while to figure out the incomplete quest line as the culprit. You think you are done when you get back and off the boat, but not true!

      I, too, like the invasions and you are right it is a vast improvement over the pre-launch events for WoD. But like you, I will do them until I have all of them done so I can get the achievement, etc, then stop. They are interesting to me for the locations, but the actual activity is pretty one-dimensional — kill a ton of invaders, kill a couple mini bosses, get chest. Still, I really like that they have been spread out in Azeroth, and I think they do set a good foundation for the story line of Legion. In fact, I think all the pre-launch events are well integrated towards that same end.

      I was afraid that the invasion scenarios would only pop up then be quickly over, thus leading to a lot of frustration if you happened to be at the other end of the continent from them, but it turns out they are available for quite a long time, so that is a good design feature. All in all, nicely done.

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