Based on playing of Demon Hunter (“DH”) on beta patch 11 up to level 13.
First of all, it is a great game and great fun. More fun that I’ve had in a long time even though I am limited to just ½ an Act of gameplay.
I’ve played quite of bit of D1, D2 and WOW in the interim. I’ve also been lucky enough to beta WOW which I am glad has taken on some aspects of Diablo since its start in Beta as a Everquest-like grind. Still think it is too much of a grind although over the years I’ve just about max-leveled.
Strangely enough, I have not died at all on any classes. I’ve never been taken down past 40% health and even then it was only because I chose not to use a potion (of which my characters each have 20+ and I’ve only used once or twice). Given this is only the first half of Act 1 and I’m a relatively veteran player of Diablo, I don’t expect to die.
But I was hoping to see an Arcane enchanted, molten enchanted, or electrical enchanted boss which looks dangerous. None of those so far. Frozen is definitely scary with its freeze you for 1 second and slow for 3 second death animation. Otherwise I’ve seen knockback, teleportation, and cloning Elites. Nothing hits hard although I guess I would die in multiplayer if I stood toe-to-toe with the Skeleton King. Not that stupid and never felt a need to see the death animation.
I will be covering the below and hopefully will go on to write further reviews on other classes of which Monk is my favorite so far. Please let me know if you like this analysis and I will continue to write more.
o Comments on current beta philosophy
o Review of current skills
o Review of DH Class to level 13
o Conclusions and suggestions
Comments on Beta philosophy and design for DH:
Just to start I loved DH and the Amazon was my favorite class in D1 and D2. But with what I have seen, it disappoints so far in D3 Beta until past level 10.
Based on current location of skills and my testing playtime, it seems Blizzard wants to nail down the basic hatred generators for this class. But the DH is ranged attack class who will replace and improve upon the Amazon.
Right now all low level skills are new skills. No Amazon or Assassin skills. I speculate that it is because the Amazon and Assassin skills are well tested and hence don’t require further testing.
However, where the Amazon and Assassin was based on mana, the DH is based hatred generators, hatred spenders, and discipline spenders. The current hatred generators are all new skills and many hatred spenders are new and require testing. I’m not sure about he discipline right now. Only 2 skills to use Discipline and it regenerates slow. Only Shadow Power is worth using in the beta.
I like what they have done so far but I do think it can be tweaked. Hopefully someone will think this is useful feedback.
Review of DH Class:
So far, the DH is still very underpowered. Its killing speed is very very slow. If you refer to the skill damages below, it is not even close to the damage output of other classes due to its lack of AOE, equipment, and timing issues (bola).
Problems stem from the lack of damage done right now as everything for the DH seems to be designed around a damage multiple of ~110-130% of normal damage at 100% regular attack speed for single target damage. Moreover, the resource spending skills to start also do no AOE to start and later when they do AOE, it is very situational and delayed: Bola, Chakram, Grenades. D3 is very AOE dependent although with Impale I can kill a single skeleton as fast as anyone, 2 skeletons and I’m exactly ½ the speed. No other class has such limited AOE.
Class Attack Damage Attack Speed AOE damage? Adjusted Total (+25-50% for AOE) Basic skills used
Demon Hunter 100-115% 100% No, not really 115% no aoe Hungering A, Bola, Entangling A
Monk 100% 140-170% Yes ~200%, aoe F Thunder, D Reach, C wave, etc…
Barbarian 115-145% 100% Yes/Maybe ~160%, aoe Bash, Cleave, Leap Attack
Wizard 90-110% 100% No, some 110% aoe M Missle, Frost Nova, Spectral B, Electrocute
Witch Doctor 150-180% 100% Maybe, via pets ~210%, aoe Poison D, frogs, Z dogs
Also compounding the low damage/AOE for basic skills is the low Hatred to Damage (“HTD”) efficiency. As you can see the Wizard has Adjusted Total damage even worse that DH. However, frost Nova is a free low damage AOE and their 3rd level skill Arcane Orb hits as hard as Impale and does wide AOE damage for roughly the same resource cost. In fact, although I thought the Wizard was a little slow to start (up to level 3 which is <5min) compared to Monk, Barbarian, and WD, I think the Wizard is are perfectly balanced. The Arcane Orb is big (so doesn’t miss much), hits hard, and has wide AOE. DH doesn’t get any useful AOE until level 7 Chakram, Elemental Arrow, and Entangling arrow.
Its quite slow until level 7. In the Cathedral against large groups and elites in the cathedral, I either caltrops and very slowly tick away their health, or run quickly and try to impale / Hungering Arrow through the groups and elites. I chose the safer option to Caltop and tick away their health. Which takes 3-4 shots for regular mobs and probably 10-20 for elites. I was in no fear of dieing as I can lay caltrops everywhere. Versus big groups, it was not challenging but very boring. I was VERY glad to get rapid fire which was much more efficient in killing although still lacking in AOE.
In fact, this AOE problem continued until I got Chakram and Elemental Arrow which are the only decent AOEs here. Both are still weak but spammable as it net only costs 7-8 Hatred due to hatred regen. Basically spamable until the targets die. Chakram is a great AOE in certain situations, but you need to space it and if they surround you you are dead. Versus the Skeleton King’s 4 pillars and skeleton mobs in his royal crypt, spam of Chakram took out the 4 towers faster than any other class. Bola was even more useless due to its 1 second delay, not exploding unless hitting a monster and general low damage output. Slightly better against mobs than other skills but still putting DH on the bottom of the viability.
At least AOE improves in upper levels. Later skills like Elemental Arrow, strafe, Multishot, Cluster Arrow, Rain of Vengeance (Rain of Arrows) is much more efficient if they are anything like the Amazon version.
I feel it is a crime to not include any short range damage options though. Fan of knives may be the closest DH skill to the Amazon jab but that was crucial to making the Amazon viable. It allowed the Amazon to take out bosses and single targets which it could not always run away from like Duriel. More on Fan of Knives below.
Finally equipment problems are obvious upfront. All other classes can use their skills even if they are holding a melee or ranged weapon. DH can only use ranged weapons which are less common. Only impale works without a ranged weapon which costs too much and has no AOE. Also without any AOE (more below) I quickly get overwhelmed if I use an ever slow weapon which make each miss and overkill lower my DPS even more.
Summary of why DH starts slow? Poor damage skills, poor equipment useability to start, and no AOE. It’s a killer to the fun until higher levels.
1. Hungering Arrow – boring inefficient skill that should be changed to behave like a “chain lightning”
• A 35% chance to pierce is roughly works out to 120% damage
• But it doesn’t look great and does less damage than the regular shot. Also kind of seeks but not if you aim the wrong way like the Amazon Seeking Shot (sp?)
• Should look cooler and at least always jump once. Eg. 80% damage 100% pierce first time with decreasing chance to pierce by 33% each pierce. ~170% damage with 3 targets or more.
• More importantly, why would I ever want to use this at higher levels?
i. It doesn’t really do more damage than Evasive Fire or Entangling Shot (“ES”)
ii. I’d rather ES large groups to limit them running at me rather than 15% negligible more damage
iii. It will be better with Runes but the basic version isn’t as great as it could be
iv. Perhaps more piercing so it would be very good at larger groups
• Actually I think this sucks enough to just change the entire skill. Just make the target bleed for like 50% additional damage.
i. D3 seems to overpower bleeds (see Witch Doctor poison dart, which isn’t overpowered)
2. Impale – in current iteration is badly designed and will be superceded by other skills
• Low Hatred to damage efficiencyUses 2.5x more Hatred than Rapid Fire and yet does less damage
• Shot is travels slow and is prone to missing
• Arcane Orb does similar damage with great AOE. Why?
• Low shot rate means Rapid Fire may induce rapid-hit stunlock (basically full stun for non-elite monsters) versus 1 shot stunlock for Impale
• Once you get Rapid Fire or Elemental Arrow you will never use this again.
• I understand this will be better when runed but it is not really exciting although it hits hard
i. I think it needs to be cheaper like 15 Hatred so more spammable and make ppl fear DH versus single targets at least
ii. Or give it root/slow so you can use it a couple more times at key targets before they get to you.
3. Evasive fire – boring and seems very limited usage
• Another Hatred generator so early? How about a discipline skill?
• It’s the same as Hungering Arrow but hits one target a bit harder. But at 115% is very low.
• Lets you run away really fast but few builds will ever depend on this
• I don’t like the “bang” sound like a gun but some may like it
• Doesn’t increase dps and hence I just kept using Hungering Arrow which at least doesn’t miss
• I don’t like this at all and you can drop this skill for all I care
i. Seems to imitate the WOW Hunter skill disengage but also shoots
ii. Some limited uses but I really can’t see it adding much to the DH arsenal. Would people really miss it if was gone? More useful in PVP I guess
iii. Maybe make it shoot 3 shots in a spread at 40-50% damage each? It would give some AOE and be closer to the idea of evasive fire which is meant to distract more that hit one target
iv. Perhaps leave this for later levels when you can always rune it to do something useful (hope I’m not being too harsh)
4. Caltrops – easy effective way to root but why no damage???
• Just slows. Why can’t it do a little damage like Grasp of the Dead? This would help some of the early AOE problems so much already
• Is it because it is a discipline skill which shouldn’t do damage? Grasp of the dead does 40% per second. 160% damage over 8 seconds.
• Don’t be so stubborn DH needs AOE!
• I’d be happy with just 50% 1 time damage when they enter the caltrops field.
• Great animation otherwise. I’d want to keep it on my hotbar except it doesn’t do damage which I really need
5. Bola – sucks due to delay, doesn’t blow up if it hits walls, and doesn’t hit hard enough
• Get rid of all 3 problems and it still wouldn’t be over powered
• Should just blow up 1 second after it leaves your hands like Grenades
• Tends to hit whatever mob is at the front and if there is 1 monster infront of the others, will waste all your Bolas…
• Only useful because I had no other AOE. Didn’t really solve my AOE frustrations although worked nicely on groups of slow zombies
• I’d use Grenades over this any day. But to make it useful, just add slow or .5 second root onto its effects and it will serve to make the front of the pack slow down and do better AOE dmg
6. Rapid Fire – great skill still used on my right click at level 13
• Best DPH skill against bosses
• Emptying entire hatred bar on boss would just about kill an Elite.
• Still doesn’t do too much damage versus other classes
• Additional cost upfront is annoying
i. It would be so efficient without the upfront cost, I probably wouldn’t use other skills nearly as much(as the hatred generators suck a lot)
ii. Id use it to break bottles more if it didn’t cost so much upfront
iii. Also not sure why but although it shoots 6 arrows at a time they don’t penetrate 6 barrels. It takes 3 arrows to go through one barrel. But if you spread it out, each arrow can take out 1 barrel.
iv. Maybe 10 hatred upfront? But I’m whining, this generally a good skill I don’t think needs to be changed.
7. Vault – no need to use this as you can just run away.
• positioning isn’t as important when you just kite anyways
• Later on you just use Elemental arrow or Chakram to get to the summoners at the back
• If you vault you likely don’t get all the way or stuck on a wall
8. Chakram – weird looking skill, very effective
• Basically the only skill a multiplayer group will like you for
• Great at taking out groups, cost and damage is ok
• Would be the best single target skill for DH if enemies stayed exactly ~10 yards infront where they get hit twice (or more if they are large)
• Don’t quite like how it jumps up and down off platforms but I guess can’t do anything about it
• Would be good if how far you aimed out controlled where it looped. Might make it too powerful or even hard to control
• Generally a good skill but not in narrow corridors
9. Entangling Shot – solid skill my left click
• Best hatred generator since it slows 2 enemies and does damage
• Left click now because at least mobs can’t run right up to me although evasive shot and HA hits harder
• This would also be a good starter skill down for level 1-3. I don’t see much use for Hungering Arrow and this is better in all circumstances
• There is slight AOE on this as the nearby enemy who is entangled also take some damage
10. Elemental Arrow – good skill but nothing special
• Great animation
• Does decent damage to enemies who line up
• Hatred efficiency is high and can almost spam it endlessly
• Would prefer 30% damage for maybe 30% more Hatred cost to make it hit harder
• Should be lower in the tree as this is a really key skill now that Penetration/Piercing isn’t a passive skill like with the Amazon
11. Grenades – good basic AOE, bit underpowered and hard to control
• Gives usable aoe damage against mobs. Due to predictable spread of damage, it won’t hit anything hard. But at least it is an AOE
• Best for when u know those skeletons with the summoner are coming out of the wall and you can drop a bunch next to you
• Limited use at higher level due to lack of firepower but runed versions will help a lot
• Glad to take the
12. Shadow Power – great skill should come lower
a. There just aren’t many uses for discipline
i. Vault isn’t needed in low levels unless you are bored
b. Shadow power gives a big jump in DPS early when DH needs it. Its also fun and animation looks great
c. There just isn’t any real way to use Discipline until I get this skill
d. DH only really starts making sense when I get all these skills later into the game
e. But I suspect even with this killing power is low compared to other classes
f. Its not sustainable and the DH is squishy
i. 30% increased attack speed is great but it uses up discipline which is slow to regen
ii. Sustainable AOE dps is still nowhere to be found
iii. We still need the Amazon and Assassin skills to round out this class
12. Fan of Knives
• Looks nice in the demos and probably the only short attack for the DH
• Recent patch has damage at 450% which is huge but has a 10 second cooldown
• Will be very useful for cleaning out some small remaining monsters who are harassing you
i. Too bad there isn’t a spammable version of this
ii. Perhaps in the runed versions?
• Seems overpowered since it is short AOE and hits so hard
• Not sure how this will work because unlike the Amazon there is very little dodge and armor for the DH which makes her much squishier than the Amazon who could tank a bit if needed.
• Untested but looks good, needs to get rid of the delay
• Whoever thought of delays in Diablo 3 should be shot. Why slow down the gameplay. Meteor has a delay which makes sense because it hits like a ticking time bomb. No other skills behave like that and should have a delay.
• Otherwise, I like spike tracks the best which should function like a blizzard (persistent AOE) without root
• The others hopefully aren’t too annoying and spam lots of clutter throughout the screen like the assassin’s traps which are largely useless.
• But compared to other classes with good dps maneuverability, or pets, DH needs every bit of weird dps it can get
• Untested but I’m thinking DH will need it
• I’m very surprised there isn’t a unruned way to get a tank summon. The DH really needs a tank follower or pet summon
• Its much squishy than the jabbing Amazon
• Its got more roots/slows but no skills to increase survivability so far
15. Marked for Death
• probably boost damage 30+% vs 20%
• I think this or Shadow Power should be lower in the tree as DH lacks DPS for single target and AOE
• DH is fun now at level 11-13 versus much lower level mobs but other classes felt fine the first way through
There are a lot of recommendations which is more for any other class probably because this is less developed.
o Lack of aoe
o Move skills around
o Lack of damage and hatred efficiency
o Move skills around, and increase damage/efficiency of key skills
o Equipment problems
o No real solution. Just fix the skill dps first. Ranged attacks should do 10-20% less damage than melee. Not 50% less. This hurts when its hard to find/buy bows at low levels.
o Lack of melee skills
o Fan of knives looks great but as a full 360degree short range AOE it can’t hit too hard
o How about a new skill Backstab/mutilate/envenom to replace Evasive Fire?
melee an enemy for 200% damage and roll away like evasive fire
• Promotes the DH to go in and stab the guy every now and then
• Makes ppl think twice about going in to melee the DH
• Rune to do additional damage and not roll away
But I find it strange how the Amazon and Assassin had Kick/Jab to single target stunlock, DPS, and defend themselves at short range. But nothing for DH.
Some quick solutions are just to put Amazon skills down low like an Amazon. Strafe or multishot before level 5 would solve the AOE problem almost by themselves. However saving them for upper levels is fine with me as well as the new DH skills are quite different and fun.
Redesigned tree: (note this layout doesn’t give 2 skills at level 3, and it works better this way)
1. Entangling shot – unchanged, gives a bit better dps vs Hungering Arrow, some aoe, and slows
2. Elemental arrow – +30% damage, gives a bit more aoe although hits slightly less hard than impale
3. Caltrops – changed to include 50% weapon damage, helps group AOE and increases damage without using hatred
4. Rapid Fire – unchanged, gives great single target dps
5. Grenades – basically unchanged, maybe a tighter spread out far away, gives some low level AOE
a. But you kind of should have a second Hatred generator
b. 100% normal damage +35% pierce is on par with other class dps
6. Vault – unchanged. just filler. Might as well play with this early.
7. Impale – Changed to cost less hatred (15 hatred should be great), single target dps
a. For taking out elites
b. No AOE for single target dps
8. Chakram – unchanged. For fun and great group AOE
9. Hungering arrow – changed to do 100% normal damage, not sure why you’d want to use this still as Entangling is better even if this hits groups a little harder
a. Maybe for when you just want to kill a little faster
10. Shadow Power – unchanged. Only 2nd skill to use discipline
11. Evasive Fire – change to shoot multiple arrows or my new melee version of Evasive fire?
12. Bola – not sure how to save the basic version of this skill, just put it late so you can rune it by then?
Save the awesome Amazon skills for higher level. DH should plays good once you have elemental arrow, and Caltrops (changed version with damage) to take out groups. Everything just gets better after that.
Whew. Long post... Does anyone read this?