With the release of Dragonflight announced to be coming within 2022, it's the time to take a look at what we would like to see in the talents for Havoc Demon Hunter.
This article is a wish-list for what I personally would like to see for Havoc Demon Hunter in the talents. It's not a guess or prediction of what we will see, my personal opinions on what to add may not align with others, and are subjective.
Demon Hunter TreeSigil of Chains
Starting with a talent that is currently only available to vengeance. With a general Demon Hunter talent tree, I'm of the hope this will open up sharing the utility specific to each spec, and that we may see sigils as havoc instead of them being exclusively a vengeance special. Sigil of Chains in particular is a pretty exciting ability, it's been pushed to the side and mostly not played this expansion in general but in mythic+ it has significant use options and the niche raid usage, it would be an exciting bit of utility and control for havoc to bring as a DPS.Sigil of Silence
Baseline for vengeance with nothing quite similar in the game Sigil of Silence has extremely high value if mythic+ is designed with a similar philosophy in Dragonflight when compared to Shadowlands. The control silence brings on large packs of casters and working as a great window to allow kicks to come back up for rotation would provide DH with another amazing tool for use in m+ outside of raw DPS. I find sigils a pretty fun part of Demon Hunter and hope they are opened up to Havoc with the new talents.
Havoc TreeRevolving Blades
Revolving Blades from Battle for Azeroth could be pretty fun and do a good bit towards letting us talent towards AOE damage better. The fury reduction on heavy AOE makes pressing Blade Dance
and Death Sweep
far less disruptive with lowered fury cost, and can make both Blade Dance and Death Sweep satisfying to use on AOE without requiring First Blood
to make them feel impactful at a good fury cost.Chaos Theory
The only legendary from Shadowlands I would like to see continue into the next expansion is Chaos Theory. It is the only source that adds IMPORTANT fury management to Havoc Demon Hunter as it currently stands, giving something more to consider in your rotation to have proper fury pooled before every Blade Dance, and providing extremely satisfying damage windows when you succeed. The Hunt
Coming out of Shadowlands, The Hunt is EASILY the most iconic of the covenant abilities to Havoc Demon Hunter. Despite the fact it has fallen out of play from 9.2 onward, it's consistently the covenant ability you will hear as the expansion favourite for Havoc. I would like to see a recolor to match the aesthetics of Havoc Demon Hunter better, and ideally with a change to Chaos damage allowing The Hunt
to scale with Havoc mastery. It's a very fluid feeling ability and with an iconic charge that would be a shame to lose.Eyes of Rage
Another azerite trait from Battle for Azeroth, Eyes of Rage brought very similar albeit less impactful reduction when compared to the current Cycle of Hatred
. There is an extremely important distinction between Cycle of Hatred compared to Eyes of Rage, while cycle simply reduces the cooldown of eyebeam on every fury refund of Chaos Strike
Eyes of Rage is based on an RPPM making it both more consistent, and allowing for procs to happen in similar amounts while weaving in abilities that are not Chaos Strike or Annihilation. I believe Eyes of Rage being brought back with the existence of Demonic Appetite
would be much more exciting and less disruptive to the gameplay of havoc when compared to Cycle of Hatred.Choice Of Critical Chaos or Chaos CleaveCritical Chaos
Looking back towards legion, Critical Chaos
could be a crucial fix to the problem Havoc Demon Hunter has had from Battle for Azeroth through Shadowlands. Currently there are no positive secondary stat interactions in Havoc's kit unlike most DPS specs, and in turn we have had a relatively bad scaling due to poorly tuned Mastery and a singular negative stat interaction for Critical Strike in the form of Eye Beam
always critical striking and having no scaling off of the stat. Being able to talent into bonus Critical Strike damage on our main spender could go a long way to providing a positive interaction allowing for more natural scaling of Havoc for its future, and lower the reliance on external borrowed power systems.Chaos Cleave
While I don't want to see the exact old version of Chaos Cleave return, I'd personally love to see a version come back where only hits of Chaos Strike
that Critically Struck would proc Chaos Cleave at a significantly higher damage percentage cleave. Since it would directly compete with Critical Chaos
it would be a talent row allowing focus on either Priority / Single Target DPS or AOE DPS. Same as above it would go for giving us a positive stat interaction in Critical Strike letting us scale better throughout an expansion, but EXCLUSIVELY for AOE DPS.Conclusion
Coming into Dragonflight is when we will see large class changes. My main hope is that they rework or remove some of the generally disliked talents of Havoc and throw a healthy amount of old Talents/Powers whether from Legendaries, Azerite Powers, or even the Legion Artifact into the talents to mix things up. While in Shadowlands our talent diversity has actually been exceptionally good looking at the expansion as a whole, we have been locked into a talent build and playstyle I would not like to see repeated.
Dragonflight will be released by the end of the year and we've gotten a first look at a couple classes' upcoming Talent trees. Given what we've seen, it's quite likely that all the classes will follow a somewhat similar formula with regards to what is offered. However, Demon Hunters have only 2 specs, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with in order for us to spend points. That said, I'd like to discuss some things I'd like to see in the Vengeance and class trees, even if it may not be realistic. Given the state of Demon Hunters since our introduction in Legion, we've been easily the class most reliant on borrowed power, so I feel like a full class rework is almost necessary for the specs to be functional and not left behind in Dragonflight. There are a few major issues that need to be covered - lack of spec/class identity, cohesiveness/synergy, and dead talents.
Demon Hunter Class Utility
Keep in mind that we need to use up 30/31 talent points for a full leveled tree, and Demon Hunters currently have very little in the way of class-wide abilities. As such, I would like to see some utility abilities from Havoc make their way into the class tree. This would help solve part of the issue that Demon Hunters don't have a particular class identity or even spec identity in the case of Vengeance. We're currently a hodge-podge of specs, taking a little bit from all the other tanks, but not particularly excelling in any area.
Some abilities I'd like to see on the class tree from Havoc would be
- Chaos Nova
- Possibly Blur as a replacement for or in addition to Fiery Brand
Old Abilities, Old Functionality
I'd also like to see a return to Legion of some of the traits we had:
- The 20 yard range on Disrupt
- The extended 10 yards of leap range from the original version of Abyssal Strike
There are others that could be potentially interesting as well, but this could be a start.
Metamorphosis - The Primary Class Identity
Currently, I'd consider only Metamorphosis
to be the single defining characteristic of Demon Hunters, so I believe the class tree should heavily build around this. It goes without saying that Demonic
will likely make an appearance. I'd like to see other talents that also increase either the uptime or power of Metamorphosis
as well, such as the Tier 21 set bonus Item - Demon Hunter T21 Vengeance 4P Bonus
or even taking some ideas from other specs as we already do, an effect similar to the bonus healing and absorbs from Blood Death Knights' Vampiric Blood
or Brewmaster Monks' Celestial Fortune
. Even an offensive bonus would be good since it's in the class tree, so the haste effect from Havoc's version or even simply empowering all our other spells would be good.
Personally, I'd rather see a redesign with a focus on maintaining Metamorphosis
and empowering our spells, with Fracture
being separate from Shear
and being more heavily ST focused with higher damage, and both being empowered by Metamorphosis
to have extra effects and hit harder. In addition, Spirit Bomb
should replace Soul Cleave
with Soul Cleave
being more similar to how Spirit Bomb
currently behaves. I could go further into this, but I think it comes down to a larger redesign than we're likely to see this expansion.
Vengeance Spec Identity - Demon Spikes and Souls
Similarly, for the spec tree, I'd like to see a stronger solution for the spec's weaknesses itself.
Currently, survivability is almost entirely based around Metamorphosis
. Demon Spikes
is extremely lackluster at baseline and needs some significant buffs. If the uptime is expected to be as low as it currently is, it needs to be an order of magnitude stronger in terms of how much survivability it grants. Alternatively, it could be just slightly stronger but with Feed the Demon
being easily accessible for more uptime as a maintenance buff. Even our Mastery is lackluster as it only applies to Demon Spikes
with its low uptime, unlike every other tank spec Masteries that work all the time. If the focus continues to be on Demon Spikes
, then more talents focused around improving it could be a good start, whether it would be increased uptime, stronger active effect, lingering effects, or even synergy with other abilities.
I believe the Vengeance spec identity primarily revolves around generating and consuming Souls at this point as a resource, so hopefully we can get some interesting talents such as Painbringer
from the Legion artifact, which provided effectively a permanent 15% DR when playing the proper rotation. Another interesting talent could be Hour of Reaping
from BfA Azerite traits, which not only improves healing from souls, but also granted a shield when absorbing enough souls. As a baseline, I think Souls should be harder to pick up, more similar to the hitbox of Gift of the Ox
that Brewmasters have, if not entirely changed into a Combo Point-like system. This would prevent many situations where souls are inadvertently picked up whether by player movement or encounter design, leading to a significant DPS loss.
Vengeance has been plagued by a lack of synergy in all abilities and the core gameplay loop being rather lackluster for years.
Core Gameplay Loop
I'd like to see talents addressing this, with souls spent leading to cooldown reduction of core abilities, similar to the current 4p tier set bonus Rapacious Hunger
. If Metamorphosis
is redesigned to empower core abilities, then we get an interesting and powerful gameplay loop in maintaining as much Metamorphosis
uptime as possible, leading to stronger abilities, leading to more uptime. Talents enabling this could increase duration or reduce cooldown, while empowering abilities that also feed into this, similar to how Metamorphosis
already causes us to generate extra resources, though due to current design, Fury is almost entirely ignored, making it rather lackluster. One potential interesting method of enabling Metamorphosis
could be to use the Fury resource as a spender, similar to Runic Power for Breath of Sindragosa
Frost Death Knights, where maintaining the spell for long periods of time becomes the goal.
Spell Synergies - Sigils, Spikes and Such
Similarly, our sigils should be synergistic if used in succession or with other abilities, rather than simply each being a separate island. Some examples could be
Talents could then build on this synergy, with different effects for different spells.
Playing off the bonus effect of extra parry during Demon Spikes
, it would be interesting if different effects occurred while active, such as:
- A chance for the spikes to Grounding Totem a spell and negate it or perhaps the first spell cast gets negated.
- Proc a bleed effect on Soul Cleave, similar to how Shield Block for Protection Warriors not only provides a defensive buff in blocking 100% of incoming attacks, but also increases the damage of Shield Slam.
- Parries during Demon Spikes have some secondary effect, like a DoT or cooldown reduction.
Finally, Fiery Brand
currently has many talents that build it up, but is lackluster as a baseline ability, so I'd like to see most of those effects changed along with the base ability. I think we would be better off replacing it with Blur
as stated earlier, while removing the defensive aspect of Fiery Brand
and perhaps bringing back something like the old Fiery Demise
or other similar effects, providing us with a DPS based cooldown like Avenging Wrath
or any other similar tank ability.
In terms of older Legendary effects or Azerite/Artifact traits, many of the synergies have been removed and the Legendaries have never been particularly appealing in terms of power or spec identity, so unfortunately I wouldn't want to see those as options. The closest I would say is something similar to Razelikh's Defilement
Currently, Vengeance has one primary talent build, with most talents in every row never being changed. The vast majority of current talents are completely dead and never picked. With the redesign, I do see some talents possibly being picked up, such as both Feed the Demon
, or Sigil of Chains
and Quickened Sigils
. However, with the current design, it would feel almost necessary to take them simply for the points, rather than being something exciting that we want to take. I believe many of these talents could simply be reworked or removed in favor of more appealing options. For example, in the final row, it's almost better not to take a talent than to ever take Ruinous Bulwark
or Bulk Extraction
with how little they contribute to the spec. If these talents are added to the new tree, I don't believe they'll ever be selected unless we're forced into them for path completion.
I think Dragonflight offers a prime opportunity for the developers to redesign Vengeance to be a more cohesive, appealing spec with a focus on the spec identity, rather than being lost as it has been since inception. For years, the common perception of Vengeance has been that of the tank spec that is good at running away, which isn't something to be proud of. There are strong options from the past that offer interesting choices, but they do not cover many of the base issues with the spec. The suggestions I have brought up are simply those I have come up with, and the community has many more. I hope to see a talent tree soon, and that Blizzard will listen to the feedback provided.