Feature Article

How World of Warcraft Has Changed With Legion's Demon Hunter

The new Demon Hunter class brings with it some new changes.

It’s been a long time since Warcraft antihero Illidan Stormrage saw the spotlight. I last crossed paths with the Night Elf Demon Hunter during World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, a time I look upon fondly as the pinnacle of my WoW days. Since then, I’ve dabbled irregularly in the massive multiplayer online RPG, returning whenever a new expansion hit but never quite achieving that level of awe and enjoyment I experienced playing The Burning Crusade.

With Illidan at the forefront once again in the newest expansion, Legion, I wondered if the links to the Night Elf antihero and introduction of the new Demon Hunter class would be enough to plunge me back into peak World of Warcraft.

The Demon Hunter class is available to both Alliance with Horde factions, visually differentiated by the Night Elf and Blood Elf versions, respectively. Perhaps the most unique trait of the Demon Hunter class is its mobility; players can double-jump and glide, slowing falls and gaining a class-exclusive way to mitigate fall damage.

That newfound mobility the Demon Hunter brings to the MMO could be utilized in the class' starting area, but I found that it wasn't an essential to progressing through the questline. Save for a few slightly higher ledges and platforms, the familiar geography meant there wasn't much of a need for me to double-jump and glide through the first area.

However, jumping and gliding aren’t the only movement-centric tools in the Demon Hunter's arsenal. The class also allows greater agility in combat--dashing to deal damage to everything in your path with Fel Rush or executing a quick backward leap to avoid timed enemy attacks using Vengeful Retreat. I could use Metamorphosis to transform into a hulking Demon, performing a leap high into the air before slamming into the ground and stunning enemies nearby. My Demon Hunter was rarely stationary in combat, and it certainly made fights feel more kinetic.

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While the new movement tweaks weren't an absolute necessity in the starting area, using them as a complement to the Demon Hunter's combat abilities brought an agile feel hitherto absent from WoW. It felt incredibly satisfying to gather multiple mobs together, dash through them using Fel Rush, stun and slay them using Metamorphosis, and then double-jump and glide away to another set of enemies. I was constantly on the move--a marked change from the static nature of traditional World of Warcraft combat.

Even venturing outside to the Broken Isles didn't dull the satisfaction of the Demon Hunter's agile toolset. Even when it quickly became apparent that the quests in the new continent had to cater to the movement limitations of other classes as well, my delight with the Demon Hunter's nimble combat style didn’t wane.

The story focus of Legion sees Demon Hunters represent a gray area in Azeroth's Horde-Alliance alignment. The class embraces demonic energies and abilities to combat demons in a fight-fire-with-fire approach, meaning that my character was often treated with disdain and suspicion from NPCs throughout Legion's story arc. It’s an interesting twist to WoW's usual good-versus-evil approach, but it’s also nothing I hadn't experienced before. Playing through Burning Crusade with a Blood Elf made me accustomed to dealing with prejudice in WoW's story.

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Demon Hunters are granted exclusive access to their Class Order Hall, which serves as a new mini-hub for players. The area serves as a nice nod to the Demon Hunter’s exclusivity, since it’s accessible only to those who can glide over from the main city.

When it comes to dungeons and raids, however, I found the Demon Hunter's mobility more of a hindrance than a beneficial tool. At best, it adds nothing to the group combat setting, and at worst, it detracts from an otherwise controlled fight. Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat could easily put my character out of position, attracting unwanted attention from additional mobs. As a result, I used both skills far less often during dungeon runs. When several Demon Hunters were grouped together, the battlefield felt excessively chaotic--multiple players dashed and leapt about to deal damage. Since the Demon Hunter is able to take on the role of either damage-dealer or tank, the class felt less “new” and more confined within WoW's typical framework of tank/damage/healer roles.

The Demon Hunter class shone during my solo gameplay experiences, but it felt routine during group scenarios. Fortunately, the Class Order Hall questline persists through level 100 to the 110-level cap, providing a setting for Demon Hunters to excel consistently. However, I found that later-game multiplayer content quashed some of what makes the class so unique--its agility and speed. I'm curious if later updates will make further use of this newfound mobility, but for now, the single-player experience more than suffices.

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zorine

Zorine Te

Zorine “harli” Te is an editor based in GameSpot's Australian office. She wants to save the world.
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Avatar image for Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Most of the DH mobility is cosmetic and fun to use. I find other classes like the Monk and Warrior offer superior mobility options that are actually functional as well.

I think the DH is a great class nonetheless and am saving mine for the burnout period with my mains.

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InYourMouf

I like WoW, but if I played it I'd kiss my life goodbye. Props to anyone who can successfully manage their time with it.

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jessie82

i just see it as being another rogue but with warlock stuff..

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Tekarukite

Maybe she's just trying to make the other classes feel better, but it was 200x more useful to be able to double jump and glide in the Broken Isles than she makes it sound.

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CptJohnnyRico

Demon hunter is a stupid class imo.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

I played the DH class for a while and enjoyed them very well, esp the storylines but after a while I had to go back to the most powerful and important classes of any mmos - the healers. I do wish they could have nudge a healing class into the demon hunter lore but understand it would have been a stretch. (possibly using felstones, soulstone, etc).

So far I am enjoying this new expansion very well they sure have brought tons of RPG back into the mmorpg that is well over 10yrs old. AT times if feels like you are playing a Skyrim, Fable, or other mainstream single player rpg, then a mmo. And of course grouping up, talking in guild, on vent, or raiding is, as always, the pinnacle of its genre.

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Trinitymp3

I agree with this article. The problem I find is that you have to use thibgs such as Fel Rush otherwise your AOE damage suffers. You can't just not use it unless you are happy with doing less damage.

And when tanks try to get through the most narrow corridors and skip mobs that are 2mm to the left it becomes a problem. Or when they tank atop a staircase, and you accidentally fall because you were using Fel Rush.

Taking wise however, you use the mobility to reach mobs and the runes are a nice system, so 0 problems there and the mobility is great.

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Zorine

@Trinitymp3: I've even seen a few Demon Hunters leap off of ledges by accident!

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Bahamut50

Disagreed on the multiplayer setting. demon hunters can use their mobility in EXCELLENT ways.

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ThomasN7

Legion is a lot of fun. WoW still the best mmo on the market today.

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alisoncc

That's just what I was thinking. PvP requires hyper mobility (which is why I love Shimmer for my mage). Maybe I'll have up check DHs out for some RPGs.

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Barighm

Blah. This is what I didn't like about Guild Wars 2. Great game, but there were no real "tank" classes because the gameplay was designed around dashing and dodging enemy abilities, moving around, and all that stuff. That's just fine with a controller, but it's not as comfortable with a keyboard.

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barakz0r

@Barighm: or in short using actual skills. Seriously you just called guild-wars2 best positive a negative. O.o

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WhateverDude

@Barighm: god forbid 1, almost invincible, person in the party have to move a tiny bit :D

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Mariner32

@Barighm: That was a conscious decision on the part of ANet, though. GW2 tried to do away with the entire holy trinity. That's not to say there isn't tanky classes, though. My Guardian can just sit there and take damage all day b/c of the traits I've slotted. Also, I find the action camera makes the more movement-oriented gameplay feel much more intuitive. Personally, though I love the story and skill combinations, WoW's gameplay just feels so much more boring to me because I can just sit there in front of a mob pressing keys as opposed to artfully dodging all of their attacks and finishing the fight without a scratch. At the end of the day, it's all personal preference though. Play on.

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Tekarukite

@Mariner32:

you should try the updated WoW, then, it feels less boring. :)

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Mariner32

@Tekarukite: Oh, I'm deep into Legion while I wait for GW2's next Living World update. And yes, in terms of action, Legion's a lot better than when I left back during Burning Crusade. I'm enjoying it a lot, my Demon Hunter and Feral Druid especially, but it still doesn't quite live up to what I've come to expect from more action-oriented mmos. I suppose that's just WoW showing its age.

Avatar image for Tekarukite
Tekarukite

@Mariner32: Fair enough.

It must be difficult toeing that line of making it new and exciting but not losing what drew people to it in the first place. If it becomes too much of a twitch-MMO, for example, people that loved the slower pace might not like it anymore.

Personally, I get tired of MMO-Bloat in just about every MMO I play, but so far I'm loving Legion.

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gamingdevil800

Is the world of warcraft story any good? I've been tempted to get the level boost and just power through the whole story.

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Grenadeh

@gamingdevil800: The answer is an all-around no, from beginning to end. They've irreversibly screwed the lore up since day 1 of WoW, not to mention multiiple instances of time travel, which have made it worse.

None of it makes any sense and all of it is written with the alliance being the bad guys in every situation, not to mention being weak and useless and incapable of learning. They're necromanced (not literally) and retconned so many long-dead people back to life that it's ridiculous, all for desperate attempts to seem like they are still following the story.

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jenovaschilld

@gamingdevil800: That is a loaded question, but to simply answer --- yes and no. You can have the greatest story ever and tell it poorly and a mediocre story but tell it amazingly.

Yes the game and story is masterfully presented to you like no other. But compared to EQ or LOTRO who have had years, books, and tons of lore to fall back on, wow is thin comparatively. And their presentation is now weak because of age.

I would still recommend wow over almost any other mmo, even ff14, story wise- because their presentation, finely honed UI, and millions of players that have refined the experience over the years makes consuming the story so easy.

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Gorehowl81

@jenovaschilld: The lore is weak in WoW? Lol, ok. Just your humble opinion. The narration has been excellent in Legion. The cutscenes certainly spoke to my emotion. I have played Lotro and the lore wasn't that great imo. And EQ is dead and burried.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@gorehowl81: Read above, as i never said that, i Said, that wow's lore is thin by comparison- EQ and LOTRO have had decades of fleshed out story telling as well as EQ building off of D& D first gen rules and lore.

I did say that because EQ and LOTRO are now old with little active advancement, that their story telling is now weak not wow's.

Really though, from ancient fantasy settings to outer space demons with only wars and ancient beings 10,000 yrs old, along side mortals decades old - it is a far reach and really only holds up as a video game. Meanwhile the lineage and history of just one family of dragons in EQ would fill the pages in wow. But that kind of story telling is now dated and old- with voice acting and FMV able to draw you in better then pages of dialogue. But that is not to say, that it is not compelling by far.

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gamingdevil800

@jenovaschilld: LOTRO is a thing? lmao

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InYourMouf

@gamingdevil800: Yes it is. Perhaps you should Google it.

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AedanBlack

@gamingdevil800: If you care about the story, pick up Warcraft 3. It's still one of the best RTS games ever made, and the story of WOW is a progression from Warcraft 1,2 and 3 with 3 being far and away the best imo.

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Mariner32

@aedanblack: Though I know it'll never happen, I'm still hoping for the day Blizzard declare WoW non-canon and release Warcraft 4. A man can dream, right?

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Gorehowl81

@gamingdevil800: Best MMO out there imo. It's the template of which other mmo's borrowed from. The lore is great, combat feels good and it's vast.

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Jaxith

@gorehowl81: Well, actually most of WoW's original game systems already existed before the game was made. It's far more accurate to say that WoW critically honed and refined those systems in ways that were never done before, becoming the standard all other MMOs were inevitably compared to for years to come, even to this day. Though after that point, many MMOs really did just draw from WoW, regardless of what came before.

...Ultimately I'm kind of arguing a pointless triviality here. So basically, there's all this other stuff that WoW borrowed from but from that point on, you're really not wrong.

Avatar image for gorehowl81
Gorehowl81

@Jaxith: Since we're discussing Legion, it's safe to credit Blizzard for it's positive changes since it borrowed from games like Diablo 3 to augment it's installment of wow that admittedly saw it's original form take shape by taking elements from predecessors like Everquest.

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iandizion713

@gamingdevil800: Its very good but its insanely long, deep, and crazy. Most the time i played i didnt even pay attention to the story and just skipped reading all the lore. A lot of the lore comes from quests your have to read, but id just read the objective and carry on.

We use to have this dude in our guild who would read us the quest and lore as we played in a group. He was the most awesome player to play with. He also had one of those calm story voices like Morgan Freeman and was an amazing tank cause he always played it safe. We would for real fight and take turns who got to group with him.

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GT_APE

@iandizion713: That sounds like an awesome tank. Wish I could have played with him!

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gamingdevil800

@iandizion713: Its fully voiced right? When I played FFXIV I skipped most of the dialogue cause I got sick of reading blocks of text.

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iandizion713

@gamingdevil800: You have to read, so its probably the same. The cutscences and stuff are voiced though. And of course the NPC have some voice, but its simple stuff like laughs, etc when you click on them.

Its not like Guild Wars 2 where all the quest are fully voiced.

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gamingdevil800

@iandizion713: ah shit. Its ok for some games but for long ass mmo's it gets tiresome and you end up skipping everything.

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pkdragon

@gamingdevil800: It's a bit better than FFXIV, because FFXIV had really slow text bubbles, while quests in WoW let you read at your own pace because it usually shows all the text at once. So if you read quickly it goes by much faster, or just skim and you'll get the general idea.

I did the same thing, skipped all the story in FFXIV because it was extremely slow. With WoW, I spent a minimum of time skimming the quests and had a much better grasp of what was actually going on.

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iandizion713

@gamingdevil800: Yeah, i agree, thats how i played majority of the time. Id read sometimes, but id skip majority of the reading. But even if you skipp everything like i did, the story is still very cool.

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Validifyed

I would imagine DH is pretty sweet in PVP (to play, I know nothing of the balance) with the movement, but in PVE I doubt the combos are very fun when you have enforced movements on some of your main moves.

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RedPillRedneck

@validifyed: I decided to main one because I've never mained a new class on an xpac launch before, so I gave it a try. They're fun, but with some drawbacks. We're fast and hit hard, but squishy. All other classes have to do is nail us down with a stun/snare/root, and we're toast. If you pvp with one, stay with the healer and you'll be fine. Hell, even when questing if I pick up more than 2 or 3 mobs I have to pop CD's or I'll die.

Of course you'll see the whiners on the forums that ruin game balance for everyone talking about how DH is OP, but you know, just because a class beats you in a 1v1 setting doesn't mean it's OP. I do alright against other melee, but I have trouble with ranged classes since I'm a leather wearer that can't stealth. We don't have any self heals except for the purple orbs that drop when you kill something, so there's a balance. Think of a melee glass cannon.

The tank spec has decent survivability, but a little less mobility, so whatever style you would prefer I guess.

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catsimboy

It's a shame that once it's placed into a dungeon setting it goes back to old stationary WoW. It seems like that will never change until they make a sequel or a new game whose framework isn't based on ancient 56k dial-up modem era gameplay.

Avatar image for gorehowl81
Gorehowl81

@catsimboy: 'Old stationary WoW'? What does that even mean? WoW is far from stationary. Look at Final Fantasy and SWTOR. Now those games you stand still for longer periods. Seems like you dont know what you're talking about.

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WhateverDude

@catsimboy: what MMOs have moved past that framework?

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Bahamut50

@catsimboy: The dungeons are anything but that.

Avatar image for deactivated-58aa7e27264a0

I love the mobility of Havoc, but the survivability of Vengeance is simply too good to pass up. It takes a bit longer to kill mobs/rares, but when you can gather up 6-8 and end the fight at full health it's just too fun.

Blizzard has done really well with this new class. The lore, the nostalgia, the gameplay, the aesthetics, and the fun is just spot on.

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Tekarukite

@IIIMatricksIII:

I agree. The tank spec is like easy mode and dps spec is insane mode. :)

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iandizion713

So im guessing you chose vengeance, excellent choice.