It’s been a little over two weeks now since since the Burning Legion came crashing back into Azeroth, bringing with it the Broken Isles, a new class and whole lot more green. World of Warcraft’s “Legion” expansion is the sixth addition to the MMORPG and is Blizzard’s attempt to repent for the not-so-well-received “Warlords of Draenor”. We’ll be taking a gander at the whole expansion once I finally hit its level cap (110!), but for now we’re focusing on its new class: the Demon Hunter.
The Demon Hunter (or Illidari as they’re also known, named after their leader Illidan — by their leader Illidan — in a fit of vanity) is a melee class with some nice tools but an overall lacklustre kit. You’re given a choice between rolling as a melee DPS with the Havoc spec or as a beefy Tank with the Vengeance spec. I’ve spent most of my time so far as Havoc, primarily because it’s what you’re given at the start and I didn’t want to confuse my poor little brain any more then I already was.
Havoc focuses around building fury through basic attacks or a few basic attack modifiers before unleashing it for large chunks of damage with other spells in your kit. You definitely need to be confident with movement and targeting to play a Havoc Demon Hunter as you’ll be jumping, fel rushing and back flipping around enemy mobs as you deal damage. While single target damage is okay, you get more bang for your buck when pulling three or four enemies at once as your area of effect (AoE) damage feels wasted when used against one target. Abilities like Blade Dance (damage), Chaos Nova (AoE stun), Vengeful Retreat (damage) and Eye Beam (oh god, so much damage) all feel wasted on single targets, causing me to go ham pulling as many mobs as I can when playing alone.
This can lead to some edgy low health situations though where one of the Havoc spec passives, Shattering Souls specifically, comes in handy. Killing enemies sometimes drops purple orbs that heal you and can even increase damage dealt if it dropped from a demon. This little kick of health is generally enough to keep you alive and the bonus fury it gives allows you to Fel Rush right back in to unleash more of your devastating damage. Alternatively, it may give you just enough health to double jump and glide your way out of the fight if you think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
Much like the Death Knight before it, new Demon Hunters start at a high level and feature a whole new starting area/set of quests to the regular Night Elf/Blood Elf zones. After picking just which horns and blindfold best suit your Demon Hunters fashion sense you’re thrown into the Black Temple with old mate Illidan as the heroes of the ‘Burning Crusade’ expansion knock down his door to bring him to justice. Never one to back down, Illidan stays to fight the heroes of Azeroth while sending you and a few other Demon Hunters through a portal to the demon world of Mardum.
Minor spoilers start here. Once here, you set about establishing a beach head and toppling the demons who call this world home. You break siege equipment, kill leaders and slaughter untold numbers of demons before finally facing the Big Bad Spider Lady and taking her down as well. Joyous from your little victory, you and the other Demon Hunters pop back through the portal just in time to see Illidan frozen in the Warcraft version of carbonite. You in turn are frozen too and locked away in the Vault of Wardens until the demons come knocking on their doorstep once more. And knock it does as Gul’dan decides to break into the vault and take Illidan’s carbonite crystal for himself for some nefarious plot he’s cooked up.
So you and your Illidari friends are finally free but Azeroth is hesitant to trust you; you have demon blood in you after all. From here you dive into the meat of the “Legion” expansion, tackling the Broken Isles and questing through to level cap and beyond. Minor spoilers end here.
We’ll dive into that later, but for now let’s focus on the Demon Hunter as a class. Overall, it’s kind of dull. The starting area is cool, the story itself is interesting and blends in nicely with the lore established in the “Burning Crusade” expansion, but the abilities just aren’t there. You’ve got some nice class passives but most of your abilities revolves around generating fury and spending it efficiently. My time has mostly been spent mashing Demon’s Bite to generate fury before spending it on either Chaos Strike or, if I’m feeling wild, Eye Beam. As you level you get access to more interesting ways to generate fury but for the most part the class is about efficiency over fun. Don’t get me wrong, some people will love that style of play but it’s not for me.
So can I recommend rolling a Demon Hunter? Sure, it’s worth it to see that side of the story and get a bit of a different view on Illidan, a former Big Bad Evil Guy of World of Warcraft. Will you find a new main class? Probably not.
We’ll aim to have our full review of “Legion”, its artifacts, new areas, story and more soon, from the perspective of a returning player who hasn’t dabbled in WoW since “Wrath of the Lich King”.