So I decided to write a long post about this class and the issues that many players feel that it has. I have played this game since release mainly as a Demon Hunter, and although having tried other classes as well, the DH is the class that appeals to me the most. I also played Diablo 2 for many years already before the expansion, and even Diablo 1 before that.
I have never played World of Warcraft, so everything on this post comes from a 100% Diablo-player's point of view, and I'd like to think that with the experience of these games that I have I'm qualified enough to write all this.
My native language is not English, so it really took me quite some time and effort to write this, so please be patient and keep the comments constructive and the discussion civilized instead of instantly flaming anything without thinking twice.
For the trolls and those who think that this is a cry post: It isn't. I think I'm not alone here saying that I don't need you here commenting such things on this thread as “if DHs suck so much, roll a barb and quit crying” or “the DH-class is fine the way it is and are in no need of change”. If you honestly believe that the DHs are in a good place right now and can't be convinced otherwise, then this thread is not for you. It is a proved fact that compared to other classes, they aren't competitive when increasing MP levels. Even though if this is the case and that's how you feel, I still suggest that you read the section #1: “eDPS” below.
If you don't have something important to say or rational opinions about the matters written on this post, then would you pretty please with sugar on top, leave the ”add a reply” box alone, thanks.
And for the devs: If any of you are actually reading this and feel like not reading the entire thing, then I suggest that you'd jump straight to the section #1: ”eDPS” below. That's pretty much what I feel is the most important suggestion that I'm making on this post.
In addition to that section, see a little more effort to look up the sections #5: “Hatred/Discipline regeneration” part b, and #7: “Number of weapons to choose from + Dual wielding” which I feel are the second most important parts here.
Of course I wish that you'd feel like ”challenge accepted” *insert meme here*, and read through the entire thing. I guarantee that everything written on this post is important to take a look at.
I've seen a bunch of threads concerning the class and the current shape it's in. I've read a LOT of these threads about these issues and almost everything even remotely regarding the class.
Hence I apologize to those in advance who feel that I'm quoting one or more of your threads. I would attach the links of the threads here, but there are just so many of them that I simply can't remember where I got any of the ideas from that I'm about to write down.
So my sincerest apologies and thanks to those who wrote about the class and whoever I got these ideas from and take it as a compliment if you see something familiar, more power to you :)
After reading loads of pages about the DH and what the players of this class feel that are the issues of it I can't recall seeing a hands down detailed text or ideas about all the skills. I'm aware that each class has unused skills that are simply, well, literally useless.
But this thread is about the DH and DH alone so I'm not going to talk about the other classes problems at all, and I'd appreciate if you readers for example didn't cry about the Barbarian's Call of the Ancients skills cooldown either.
That's it for the introduction. If you're still reading this then I have your attention, good. Now to the actual content of this post.
Issues I've read about concerning the DH and what I'll go through on this post, here are the sections:
1. eDPS (if you don't know what the concept of the eDPS is, I suggest you look it up before going on)
2. Class balance
4. Number of viable builds from MP6 upwards and survivability on high MP levels
5. Hatred/Discipline regeneration
6. Damage modifiers on skills compared to other classes
7. Number of weapons to choose from + Dual wielding
8. Concepts and mechanics of skills and their rune variants
Those are just on the top of my head right now, and I think that those are enough to be talked about. I'll do my best to write about all those things but this thread is mainly going to focus on section 8: the skills of the DH, each actives, their rune variants, and passives, each of them individually. In that section I'll break down every skill and all their runes one at a time and what in my opinion:
- that skill/its runes should be and what is supposed to be their goal
- is ”wrong” with that skill/its runes and why they are used or not
- should be done to improve the skill/its runes to better serve their purpose
It's going to be a long list about the skills and their runes so before breaking them down, I'll get the ”simple stuff” out of the way first. I'll try to keep these sections short so bear with me. So without further ado, get some refreshments, a comfortable position and let's get started:
1. eDPS or effective damage per second (please read this)
This section is not only for the DH-players but for all the players of this game.
I'm quite sure that anyone reading this thread has also seen the eDPS thread about the OP comparing the DH and Monk classes with almost identical gear and their time taking down the same elite pack (big thanks to that OP, awesome post!).
Since it was so awesomely 100% accurate I'm not even going to try and explain what he did, just look it up somewhere if discussing about the eDPS issue is your cup of tea. I'll just mention that the eDPS of the DH is nowhere near on par with the other classes. I don't have to prove this, since it's already been proved. If you haven't seen the thread I mentioned for some reason, I suggest that you find it and take a close look at it.
I'll make suggestions on this post that would generally improve the DHs eDPS, but they are included in later sections. Instead on this section I'm proposing the following:
Anyone who is familiar with the eDPS concept is also familiar with the fact that it's a difficult thing to measure. It's not a fixed number like paper DPS and never will be: paper DPS is based on the gear equipped and ALL the active skills of the class regardless of the build that is used at any given time. Therefore the paper DPS merely gives an idea of the DPS of a character.
(This next part in my opinion is the single most important few rows of text of this post)
So to actually measure eDPS, I'm making a suggestion to the development team, and I very much hope that they would at least see this suggestion. So please, if anything of this thread sticks into your head then let it be this next part and if you're going to quote anything, quote this in your comments below and feel free to spread it around, thank you. Here it is:
Due to the patch 1.0.8, every time you're in a fight your minimap icon shows you that you're in one. This means that the game recognizes when the players are in battle and when they're not. Implement a figure of the eDPS in the inventory screen below the screen DPS figure, that's based on the time a player is in combat compared to the damage inflicted. (One does not have to be a genius to realize that this figure keeps changing over time and after each fight).
There you have it. Don't worry, explanation of this below, read on...
One of the reasons a melee class has a higher eDPS is the fact that they don't have to avoid and dodge attacks manually during fights, they can just DPS away constantly.
With DHs this is not the case: during fights we have to avoid, dodge and evade (D2 reference <3) attacks in order to survive, and while executing those crafty maneuvers of ours we don't do anything to damage the enemies, hence losing eDPS.
If implemented, then whenever a character equips a new weapon, switches skills or anything that's going to change the eDPS, the player would have an option to reset the number value to 0 and go out on the field dealing damage to see a more accurate figure of eDPS of new skillsets/builds or gear or whatever.
I'll make an example of how the eDPS-number would work:
If anyone of you readers play Battlefield 3, then you're familiar with battlelog. There on your profile you see a ”skill” number that adjusts after each game based on your performance on the field.
The eDPS-number would work in a similar way: after each fight the time spent in one and the damage inflicted are calculated into a number of eDPS and adjusted with the already existing number of eDPS that shows directly on your inventory screen.
This way we could get a much more accurate number of the damage that we're actually dealing per second instead of paper DPS which is based on the hypothesis of inflicting damage nonstop.
I know that if implemented, this would be an awesome and a very useful tool to show what skillsets/builds pull anything off or deal most damage, which classes do the least/most damage and therefore being able to balance them and so on so forth.
In absolutely no way would this be a bad feature to implement. If you disagree (which I find very hard to believe), I'd like to hear a good reason (which I also find very hard to believe) why.
Please Blizzard, hear this and include this feature, or some form of it, in the game.
I really want to make this clear so I'll say it again: if you'll remember ANYTHING of this thread after reading it, remember the previously mentioned. Thank you.
2. Class balance
I've read a lot about DH-players thinking that the class itself if vacuumed, is a quite balanced class. I agree. I feel that on MP levels 1-6 this class has the highest amount of variations of skill-setups that are actually somewhat viable and fun to play.
Sure many skills need a ”little” more love, but overall the gameplay of this class is awesome, engaging and most challenging in my opinion, and although I've tried other classes as well, the DH is the class I enjoy the most and keep getting back to.
I have yet to see two Demon Hunters using the exact same build in the same game. Thus I think the class itself is quite well constructed.
However now let's bring all the other classes to the equation, and suddenly it's not so balanced anymore. In terms of killing speed on high MP levels, the DH is not as effective to play as the other classes.
However on lower MP levels (1-5) the class shines and in my opinion outperforms other classes in average regarding killing speed, but on MP 6-10 the class is generally not wanted in parties.
I'm not suggesting anything on to this section on how to bring the eDPS up to par with other classes. I'm just saying that that's how it is. I'll make those suggestions later throughout this post, and I hope to see ideas and discussion about this matter on this thread of how to balance the DH to be equal with other classes on higher MP levels.
I've seen one interesting idea about a damage buff for ranged classes similar to the 30% damage reduction on melee classes. I can't see why that would be a bad idea to buff ranged classes damage by 30%, it only sounds fair to me.
But that 30% damage on its own does include a fault: it would be granted to ranged classes and it sure sounds fair, but it does not encourage ranged classes to stay at a distance which a ranged class is supposed to be in. I realized this fault from that same forum thread where I saw this suggestion of a 30% damage increase for ranged classes, because someone was suggesting a 30% dodge bonus being granted to ranged classes. While this looks good on paper, it would not work in practice because it would only encourage ranged classes to tank even more, and that's not the goal.
The 30% damage increase wouldn't make the tanking ranged class players to change their playstyle to ranged, unless: the damage-buff is granted only if there are no enemies within 10 yards.
This would work exactly like the Demon Hunter passive skill Steady Aim. That wouldn't force the players to go ranged, but it'd be advisable. Anyone who wants to tank, can tank freely, but only without the 30% damage-buff. That would be fair for ranged characters to get a similar buff for damage as melee classes get to damage reduction, and at the same time it encourages players to play the ranged classes as they are supposed to be played, and it wouldn't be unfair against tanking melee classes either for ranged classes having more damage tanking than them.
If some of you like tanking with a CM-Wizard for example, remember that you can't really cry about it: your damage is not going to change at all, it wouldn't be reduced, nothing is changing for your part.
We're more or less glass cannons. We don't survive as well, but to balance that we should pack one hell of a punch.
In public games on high MP levels when a DH joins in it's usually frowned upon when it instead should be reacted as: ”Yes! NOW we got a CANNON and a lot of FIREPOWER! Mobs, say hello to my little friend!”
This class is supposed to be the most mobile, agile, fast-moving and dexterous class out of all the five. We can somewhat achieve that by using Vault – Tumble with Tactical Advantage, but even then it's merely on par with the moving speed of a Barbarian right now.
And on higher MP levels, we have to pretty much ditch TA for some other passive that gives us more survivability. Not so mobile anymore. I'm absolutely certain that this is NOT how it's supposed to be, or is ”working as intended”.
I read an interesting suggestion somewhere that the passive skill Tactical Advantage should be built in as a default of the DH class. Right now in order to be mobile that the DH is supposed to be, DH-players have to choose skills that let them be just that.
Selecting mobility skills on the other hand takes away skill slots from offensive skills that allow the DH to deal damage, not forgetting that they have to stay alive as well so players have to add defensive skills to suck up any incoming damage.
Hence now the DH has to choose a large number of defensive skills only to survive on high MP levels, taking away skill slots from skills that allow the DH to deal damage, and even then it's a constant struggle to stay alive.
The Demon Hunter is not meant to be running away from the mobs and barely surviving, but to lay waste on them and occasionally dodging and evading, before they get to him/her. He/she is the Demon “Hunter” after all.
4. Number of viable builds from MP6 upwards and survivability on high MP levels
I decided to include these two subjects under the same section, because they're actually pretty much the same thing.
Now remember when you're reading this section that I'm not implying that the DH can't survive on high MP levels. They completely can, it's just very tedious and usually require help from other classes. I can do MP10 just barely. It's not enjoyable or efficient, but frustrating. I have done MP10 Übers with few friends without dying, but we had to have a very clear work distribution in order to pull it off. If anyone wants to know what it was I'll answer if anyone asks, but I won't include it on this post since it's a bit off topic. The point is that the DH can survive on MP10 and it's not impossible at all.
However, in order to survive on higher MP levels the DH has only a few skills and runes to choose from that are viable (or the skills that are more or less mandatory on a high MP level):
-Spike Trap – Echoing Blast (because of the highest damage output on any DH skill)
-Preparation – Backup Plan (survival)
-Shadow Power – Gloom (survival)
-Bola Shot – Thunder Ball/Imminent Doom (high area of effect for Night Stalker passive, hence for survival)
-Sentry – Guardian Turret (survival)
-Vault – Tumble (survival, a no-brainer skill for any DH on any MP)
and from the passives: Perfectionist and Night Stalker (both for survival).
Doesn't leave much of a choice for the rest of the slots. Why is this type of a build used so widely? Because of the cost of discipline skills, hence the fast depletion of the discipline pool. As to those who don't know, if the Demon Hunter runs out of discipline, that pretty much equals death. Therefore in order to not letting this happen, they stay at melee range. This is how it works today:
Melee range = no time spent on movement or kiting = more time spent on attacking the enemies = more attacks = more hits = more critical hits = more discipline because of Night Stalker = constant defensive skill usage (namely Shadow Power – Gloom) = more survivability = maybe not dying
Yes. That's pure logical reasoning, and that's how it is. It's absurd: Demon Hunter which is a ranged class is better off at melee range = not dying. Exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to be.
I'll be listing changes to discipline skills in the skills section #8 in order to drag the Demon Hunter away from melee range and encourage it to stay as a ranged class. Until then be patient.
If you look around you will soon notice that such skills as Strafe, Impale, Cluster Arrow, Rain of Vengeance, Marked for Death, Chakram, Tactical Advantage, Steady Aim etc. are not used on high MP levels. This is not because the Spike Trap-Gloom-Bola Shot is OP, but because the other skills are lacking in effectiveness and that build is close to the only viable build on high MP levels.
Since mobs don't die as fast when increasing the MP, DHs are forced to either kiting forever, or tanking. Tanking unfortunately is easier and it allows you to keep the resources up. Not the image I'd first get of a ranged class. This can't be ”working as intended”.
This class is not supposed to be a tanking class, and yet everyone is forced to do so on higher MP levels to survive. Everyone who are able to think realizes this and the irony that now a ranged class has to tank to stay alive on higher MP levels.
Even if a DH player chooses to tank, it's still not as efficient as the other tanking classes, not even close. The damage output is not enough to be on par with them, the survivability is not enough to be on par with them, pretty much nothing is enough to be on par with them. There is a reason you don't see many high paragon level HC DHs that are still alive.
Blizzard should do something about the class and the skills that encourage players of this class to stay at a ranged distance and kite, because that's what it's supposed to be doing.
I'm not going to suggest things except for tweaking the skills, but I'll write about those in my skills section below.
Instead I hope that the readers of this post would come up with awesome and constructive ideas on top of mine on how to achieve this and discuss them on this thread.
5. Hatred/Discipline regeneration
Everything on this section is based on the assumption of playing on MP level 6 or higher. Any lower than MP5, the regeneration rate of these resources don't tend to be a problem (at least in my opinion).
a) Let's go through the discipline part first:
I personally feel that the discipline regeneration rate is just fine as it is. I think the problem is either the default amount of discipline (30) or the amount the defensive skills cost. Let's take a few examples:
Vault: costs 8 discipline. With Tumble rune every second vault costs 4 (the reason it is used by 74.32% according to diabloprogress of all the top 500 unbuffed DPS players that use Vault in the first place by the time I was writing this). The default discipline cost 8 is a huge chunk, almost 1/3 of the default discipline pool. Not much is left for other defensive skills.
Shadow Power: 14 discipline. Almost half of the discipline pool. Not much is left for other defensive skills.
Smoke Screen: 14 discipline. Almost half. Again not much is left for other defensive skills.
Because the cost of these skills is so enormous most of the DHs have to choose the Preparation skill to accompany one of these, especially if selecting either Smoke Screen or Shadow Power.
If the DH wants to use these skills on a regular basis, they are forced to tank to regenerate discipline faster using Night Stalker as a passive (granting discipline on critical hits).
If the DH on the other hand chooses to kite the mobs (which it's supposed to be doing) they use Vault, and the problem that emerges here is that you vault from A to B, and do nothing in between those two points to damage the enemies = no critical hits = no additional discipline. DH vaults 3 times with default cost of vault, so they are forced to use the Tumble rune.
Even then when they run out of discipline (which happens fast regardless the use of the Tumble rune) they come across a problem: kited mobs didn't die yet. The mobs are still alive, no discipline left, can't kite anymore using vault, and can't use other defensive abilities either which basically means death and game over. Again there is a reason you don't see many high paragon level HC DHs.
Right now the discipline pool/the cost of the skills is just enough to include one of these skills in each build. Considering the survivability of the DH that is not enough to stay alive on high MP levels. I've never seen anyone using both Shadow Power and Smoke Screen in the same build.
In my opinion they should reduce the cost of skills that are fueled by discipline. Especially Vault and Evasive Fire's backflip (a kickass skill by the way, more about that in the skill section) by 40-50%, since this class is the fast-moving mobility class, and without Vault it's not fun to kite or even very possible. I'll get back to the discipline costs of skills on the skills section later on.
b) Then the hatred regeneration part (devs stay sharp! Get coffee or something):
Hatred regeneration rate is not enough, plain and simple. I know that almost everyone who play this class are familiar with this fact. It's just too slow.
Let me clarify: maximum hatred by default is 125. Base hatred regeneration rate is 4 each second. Players usually who play on MP levels lower than 5 choose Elemental Arrow – Ball Lightning as a main attack, which costs 10 hatred/attack (which is a nice and low cost).
Let's assume that a DH uses a Manticore (which is hands down the best high damage dealing weapon for the DH right now, more about that later on section #7 “Number of weapons to choose from”), and some gear that give attack speed. The APS is now around 1.5-1.6/second.
This allows the DH to spam BL about 15 times before running out of hatred. Doesn't sound too bad right? It's a decent amount of projectiles, yes?
Yes, but now they have a problem. They have to regenerate hatred to send more Ball Lightnings on their way, and fast.
I took time of how long it took to get back to full hatred with my DH with such equipment on, that I ended up having the hatred regeneration rate at 4/sec, and 1.68 APS. I used Hungering Arrow as a hatred generating skill which generates 3 hatred/attack (on most generating skills this is the case). Here's what happened (some numbers):
Seconds it took from 125 hatred to 0 hatred spamming Ball Lightning: 8.61
Number of Ball Lightnings before running out of hatred: 15
Seconds it took from 0 hatred to full 125 hatred while spamming Hungering Arrow: 12
Number of Hungering Arrows before reaching the full 125 hatred from 0 hatred: 15
That means that most of the time with those specs the DH is using hatred generators instead of hatred spenders, spenders being the attacks that deal the actual damage.
There are of course a few ways to improve the hatred regeneration rate and increase the maximum hatred. For instance the passive skill Vengeance increases maximum hatred by 25 to be a total of 150, and the active skill Companion – Bat Companion which increases the hatred regeneration rate by 3/second to be a total of 7 hatred/second.
I tested the same thing with the previously mentioned skills selected as well:
Seconds it took from 150 hatred to 0 hatred spamming Ball Lightning with Bat Companion: 13.55
Number of Ball Lightnings before running out of hatred: 24
Seconds it took from 0 hatred to full 150 with Hungering Arrow and Bat Companion: 11.53
Number of Hungering Arrows before reaching the full 150 hatred from 0 hatred with a Bat Companion: 20
So it is a little better, but still it's very close to 50/50 of generators and spenders, and that is not good enough to be efficient on high MP levels. Of course on lower MP levels than 5 or 6, the Vengeance passive helps you to regenerate hatred from health globes by 20 each, and since mobs die a lot easier it's not a problem to keep that resource up at all.
But when increasing MP, mobs don't die that easy anymore = less health globes = less hatred = less attacks = less eDPS = less everything that the DH is supposed to be which is a fast-moving high damage dealing yet a fragile class (but not as fragile as it is now).
For those who think that the previous results about the usage of hatred spenders related to hatred generators are because of the low APS, I did the same test with a faster attacking weapon where I ended up having an APS of 2.45:
x = number when NOT using Vengeance and thus having a full hatred of 125, and NOT using Bat Companion and thus having a hatred regeneration rate at 4/sec
y = number when using Vengeance and thus having a full hatred of 150, and using Bat Companion and thus having a hatred regeneration rate at 7/sec
Seconds it took from full hatred to 0 hatred spamming BL: (5.59/7.83)
Number of BLs before running out of hatred: (14/20)
Seconds it took from 0 hatred to full hatred while spamming HA: (9.35/9.65)
Number of HAs before reaching full hatred from 0 hatred: (24/24)
Sorry if that was a bit difficult to understand, I tried to be as clear as I possibly could. However it doesn't matter whether you understand those numbers or not, the fact is (that I've just proved) that weapon speed and APS makes little to no difference to how much hatred spenders you're using in relation to hatred generators. In a scenario that a DH is in a fight that lasts infinitely, over 50% of the time he/she is using hatred generators instead of hatred spenders (health globes from Vengenace not taken into account). Compare this to a WW-Barbarian, who spins and uses fury spenders, and every now and then uses bash to maintain the furypool. I think this is more like the way that it's supposed to be.
On high MP levels however, DHs stop using Ball Lightning because of its damage modifier (155%), and switch to Spike Trap – Echoing Blast which has the highest damage output compared to the hatred spent (3*275% and costs 30 hatred = 10 hatred for every 275%). On the downside, Spike Trap has a delay, it's stationary, and utterly clumsy, everything the Demon Hunter isn't, but this skill forces the DH to be all of the above.
Using Spike Trap, a fight always starts out fine and smoothly, spending 90 hatred instantly for a maximum of 3 traps up at a time, but now the DH has to get hatred back fast to lay another 3 traps before the previous ones are used out. Usually the generating rate is not enough for this unless you're using a fast attacking weapon like Calamity to get more APS and thus decreasing the time between using Spike Traps, but that is also far weaker compared to a Manticore damage-wise.
So in short: The hatred regeneration rate as it is now, even when using Vengeance and Bat Companion, is not enough for high MP levels to play efficiently.
Next here are some ideas of how to improve the hatred regeneration and thus fixing the issue of hatred regeneration (for the devs):
-Increase the base hatred regeneration rate from 4/sec to 8/sec (as if now with the Bat Companion and a notch better)
-Increase the default hatred pool from 125 to 150 (as if with the Vengeance passive)
-Lower some of the hatred spenders' hatred cost (most skills' hatred cost are in a decent shape now. I'll go through these more on the skills section)
-Increase the hatred generated by hatred generating skills such as Bola Shot or Evasive Fire
I honestly believe, that if the previously mentioned 4 points are implemented, it would fix most of the issues that the DH-class has right now. Let me explain:
The eDPS of a DH is lower compared to other classes not only because he/she has to spend time moving during fights, but also because the hatred spender skills are the ones that deal the real damage, and the generation rate of hatred is not enough right now to use the hatred spender skills for a reasonable amount compared to the far weaker hatred generators.
Of course the damage modifiers of some skills require attention as well, and worry not, I'll go through those later on this post in section #8.
6. Damage modifiers on skills compared to other classes
This is a matter of eDPS. One of the reasons that a DH has a lower eDPS than the other classes is because of damage modifiers on skills. I'll take the Barbarian and the Monk as an example here. The DHs some of the most powerful skills damage-wise that deal the damage nearly instantly are:
-Spike Trap (more specifically the Echoing Blast rune = 3*275%)
-Fan of Knives (320%)
-Cluster Arrow (especially with the Loaded for Bear rune = 304%/hit+4*100% bombs)
The problem in these skills is not only the damage modifier being too low but the rate they can be fired. Because of their resource cost, the DH can spam just a few of these before running out of hatred, and again having to generate (and as I showed you in the previous section, it takes a while).
The Barbarians and the Monks can infinitely spam their high-damage-dealing skills because they have ways to keep their resource-pool up at 100% about 95% of the time.
Let's take a look at some of the Barbarian's and Monk's most powerful skills regarding damage:
-Hammer of the Ancients (especially Smash rune = 406%)
-Rend (700% over 5 seconds)
-Lashing Tail Kick (470%)
-Wave of Light (829%, and yes, they can spam this without a cooldown)
-Dashing Strike (303%)
-Cyclone Strike (313%)
The difference is not only the obvious that the damage modifiers of these skills are higher in average than the ones of the DH, but the fact that there is a way to endlessly spam them. This is the very reason that the DH has far lower eDPS than either of the two melee classes: we can't spam our most powerful heavy-hitting skills. Either they have a cooldown which can't be bypassed, or they cost too much hatred compared to hatred generated.
In addition to that, as I've mentioned earlier, the DHs have to move during fights avoiding incoming damage and thus taking breaks from damaging enemies. During this time the Barbarians and Monks are able to just DPS away not having to move at all.
As a sidenote I'd like to clarify the eDPS issue through the ability of killing goblins. I've seen Barbarians and Monks do this on MP10 solo. I've never seen this being done by a DH, despite the fact that the DH can attack a goblin from a distance and therefore it doesn't matter as much when compared to a melee class that this little turd is running away. Even with the advantage of attacking from a distance, the DH is outperformed by melee classes when it comes to killing goblins on high MP levels.
Now remember that I'm not requesting any nerfs on other classes, just showing everyone that this is how it is. I don't feel the urge to have any nerfs of classes in this game ever, so no need for flaming, lower you hatchets :)
The point of this section was just that: showing how it is and that there is an issue with the damage modifiers when comparing them to other classes.
I'm not suggesting any changes to DH skill damages until section #8, so just be patient and read on.
7. Number of weapons to choose from + Dual wielding (devs stay sharp!)
After I wrote this section and read it afterwards, I realized that it's actually a very important section due to the suggestions I'm making ahead. These ideas don't only concern the DH but the whole game in general.
When the game was first released, I couldn't wait to get to dual wield two one-handed crossbows. I felt that it was the signature ability of the DH, as is dual wielding to a Barbarian. The concept was/is just undeniably awesome.
As I got more experience with the class I didn't want to let go of dual wielding (because of the pure badassery) but soon realized that in order to be efficient I had to, so I was forced to go for a Manticore and so I reluctantly gave up dual wielding. After doing that I've never looked back, not because the Manticore is effective or awesome, but because it's a no-brainer and it's hands down the most effective weapon compared to other ranged weapons.
We all know why the Manticore is so much better than any other ranged two-handed weapon or even one-handed weapon and it's the chance of having 2 sockets. That affix alone makes this weapon a no-brainer compared to all others.
I'm not saying that the weapon should be nerfed since I'm using one. I'm saying that every single two-handed weapon, ceremonial knife, wand, and any other weapon that can't be dual wielded in the game should be granted a chance of having 2 sockets, and I'll explain why:
I can't remember which patch it was, when the two-handed weapons were buffed to be on par with two one-handed weapons: they increased the life steal, the stats, overall damage, life on hit and pretty much everything except for the chance of having 2 sockets. For two-handed weapons to have 2 sockets would only be reasonable.
If adding a chance for two-handed weapons to have 2 sockets (which is reasonable), it's only fair to other classes for their class-specific weapons, that can't be dual wielded, being granted the same chance. If not, then for example the Wizards will start using a two-handed weapon although it wouldn't be a that much of bad thing considering that there are staffs in the game, absolutely no one uses those wooden sticks (except for Eirena, she loves those damn twigs). Plus wouldn't it be bloody awesome for the wizard to dual wield wands or the Witch Doctor to dual wield ceremonial knives?
Think about the following questions for a second:
How many Monks have you seen using a daibo?
How many Barbarians have you seen using a two-handed mighty weapon?
How many melee class players have you seen using a two-handed weapon other than Skorn?
How many Wizards/Witch Doctors have you seen using a staff?
How many DHs have you seen using a ranged two-handed weapon other than Manticore?
I know that the answer to all those questions above is the same: “Not many/none”. And it's such a shame, because all those weapon types are 100% badass and for instance I'd love to use a daibo as a Monk or a bow as a Demon Hunter, but it's just not worth it, and this is a proved fact.
Polearms, two-handed swords, axes, maces, mighty weapons, bows, crossbows, staffs (or staves, whatever), are all nearly unusable because of 2(!) legendary weapons, which are of course the Manticore and Skorn. This is a very unfortunate and clear flaw in game design.
Simply by adding the chance for 2 sockets to appear on the previously mentioned items would permanently fix the problem of two-handed weapons being obsolete.
Elaboration: everytime a two-handed weapon gets the +sockets affix, it would be granted 1-2 sockets with that 1 random affix alone. But those legendaries that already have a socket as a default (i.e. Manticore, Skorn), can roll a second socket ONLY if the “+1 random affix” is consumed (just like the Manticore at the moment). This way for example, Skorn couldn't roll 2 sockets and life steal in the same weapon, that would be a bit overpowered.
I'm aware that this is more or less an itemization issue and will somewhat balance itself out sooner or later due to the upcoming itemization patch (I very much hope so!), but that does not mean that it isn't worth mentioning. As it is now, the DHs choice for weapons is not really a choice at all.
But oh no, a new problem emerges! If the previously mentioned is implemented and all the two-handed weapons are granted a chance of having 2 sockets, it will only fix the issue of choosing weapons halfway:
Scenario: every two-handed weapon can roll 2 sockets:
Now for the DH there's a more difficult choice deciding between any two-handed crossbows and bows, just the way it's supposed to be = problem solved...
…but not close enough: no change is made to one-handed crossbows, and the situation is the same as it is now: almost everyone uses a Manticore or now some other two-handed crossbow/bow instead of dual wielding. Only now the Barbarians and Monks would share the same problem: why dual wield since it's not as effective as using a two-handed weapon that has 2 sockets? This would be disastrous for it would make one-handed weapons more or less obsolete as the Manticore did to one-handed crossbows.
Now how to solve this problem? For example by adding some sort of a bonus when dual wielding. Feel free to make suggestions, if you have any ideas then post them on this thread. I've seen anything from attack speed bonus (more than 15% which it is at the moment) to critical hit chance bonus, or both, which I think are all great ideas. It has to be something that gives the player a difficult choice deciding between a two-handed weapon or two one-handed weapons.
On a sidenote here, the increased attack speed bonus gained from dual wielding is not enough at the moment, nor is the IAS bonus % from any other quiver than Dead Man's Legacy. An example will clarify:
I tested the APS with one-handed crossbows each having an attack speed of 1.60/sec, a quiver that had an increased attack speed bonus of 15%, and a Dead Man's Legacy with an increased attack speed bonus of 20% (the only quiver in the game that can have an attack speed bonus of over 15% excluding 2 legendary quivers which are the Black Bone Arrows and the Flint Ripper Arrowheads that both can have a maximum of 17%).
I didn't wear any other items that increased my attack speed.
Here are the results of what I did and what happened:
-APS when using a one-handed crossbow: 1.60
-APS when dual wielding 2 one-handed crossbows: 1.84
-APS when using a one-handed crossbow with a quiver: 1.84
-APS when using a one-handed crossbow with Dead Man's Legacy: 1.92
There is no difference in APS between dual wielding or using a single one-handed crossbow with a 15% IAS quiver. This means that the IAS-bonus from dual wielding is 15% (although you probably already knew that). This 15% applies to any dual wielding, not only hand crossbows.
Since the Dead Man's Legacy can have 20% IAS, it's generally not smart to dual wield if considering attack speed since the attack speed is lower in the case of dual wielding when compared to a single one-handed crossbow + DML setup. Also, since the Dead Man's Legacy can have so much IAS compared to all other quivers, the other quivers are not used at all. The effect is the same as with the Manticore. Dead Man's Legacy is for quivers what the Manticore is for two-handed crossbows.
However I don't think that this is such a big issue compared to the Manticore vs. all other two-handed ranged weapons but still, like I feel that every two-handed weapon should have a chance of having 2 sockets, so should every quiver have a chance to roll an IAS % of 10-20 instead of 10-15. In addition to that, a bit off topic, DML should have the IAS range between 18-20% instead of 10-20% (because anything under 15% and it's garbage and very close to useless).
The issue is that it's not recommended to dual wield one-handed crossbows since there is a better option available, which is the one-handed crossbow + DML.
The bonus from dual wielding has to be buffed remarkably to the point where it's a difficult decision between using:
a) a two-handed bow/crossbow (with 2 sockets) + quiver (DML), or
b) dual wielded hand crossbows.
Furthermore, hand crossbows shouldn't only be used for fast hatred regeneration and decreasing the time between hatred spenders, but for other reasons. Make suggestions. If the only reason to use them is just that, then they're simply not good enough.
Right now the choice is so obvious that it's not a choice at all.
EDIT: One good suggestion that I heard a while back and thought that it was good enough to be added here considering the dual wielding:
Add a class-wide feature to dual wielding similar to the Barbarian's skill Frenzy:
Attacking when dual wielding grants you stacks of attack speed increase for 3 seconds. These stacks would be 5% ias each, of a maximum of 4 stacks.
This would encourage Demon Hunters to use dual wielding, but in my opinion wouldn't make it too overpowered over a setup of a hand crossbow + quiver. I thought that this was an excellent idea.
This marks the end of the first 7 sections.
The previously processed 7 sections ended up being a little longer than I expected, but since you're still reading this, it doesn't matter. I hope that I've been clear enough to this point about the first 7 sections and the issues I brought up in them, and that I've made some valid points so you've had some eye-opening revelations reading them. I hope that no stone was left unturned, and all questions were answered. If however you feel that something was left without attention, please bring it up on this thread for discussion.
Now we're down to the last (and certainly not least) section of this post which I've referred to throughout the entire text, which is:
8. Concepts and mechanics of skills and their rune variants
So now finally as the “simple stuff” is out of the way, we can delve into the grand finale of the post that is the skills of the Demon Hunter. This is a very long section, and it took me a very long time to finish it.
During this post I've talked about such matters as the eDPS, hatred regeneration, and skills' damage modifiers. On this section I will for example suggest mostly minor (some major, but I think reasonable) tweaks on their damage modifiers, resource costs and some of their mechanics so that they would be aligned and more balanced with the skills of other classes and thus somewhat fixing the eDPS issue. The results will look similar with the patch 1.0.7 Monk buffs.
On this section I will provide a detailed explanation of all the skills of the DH and their runes. I'll break down every skill and go through 3 different central points which I mentioned in the beginning of the post and are as follows:
1. What is the concept/purpose/idea/role of the skill and how well it's executed? (execution rating on a scale of 1-5, 1 being “doesn't deliver” and 5 being “nailed it”, followed by reasoning)
2. Why is the skill/its rune variants used or not?
3. How to balance the skill and its runes with other skills of the DH without any of them being a clear choice or a “no-brainer” making all other skills/runes obsolete.
At each skill on this section I'm providing a link to them from this site. I won't include the tooltips of the skill or explain what it does, that takes too much space from an already crowded post. If you're unfamiliar with any of the skills or runes, then check the links.
In addition to the links, I'll include a usage % of the skill and their runes at every skill and its runes, that at the time of writing this, is based on the Diablo Progress site's softcore Top 500 unbuffed DPS players. From now on I'll refer to that with “DPU%” (Diablo Progress Usage %).
As a rule of thumb, if the DPU% of any skill isn't between 5-45, or any of the runes isn't between 10-80, then something about the skills or the runes have a problem in design, either because of it being too bad, good but not enough, or too good compared to other skills.
I'm listing the skills alphabetically in the following way:
1. Active Skills
A) Hatred Generators
1. Bola Shot
2. Entangling Shot
3. Evasive Fire
5. Hungering Arrow
B) Hatred Spenders
7. Cluster Arrow
8. Elemental Arrow
9. Fan of Knives
12. Rain of Vengeance
13. Rapid Fire
15. Spike Trap
C) Discipline Skills
19. Marked for Death
20. Shadow Power
21. Smoke Screen
2. Passive Skills
27. Cull of the Weak
28. Custom Engineering
30. Hot Pursuit
31. Night Stalker
32. Numbing Traps
35. Steady Aim
36. Tactical Advantage
37. Thrill of the Hunt
As I'm writing this section, I'm testing and re-testing, calculating and re-calculating, comparing and re-comparing with other classes, every skill and all their runes in-game one at a time on any MP level from 6 to 10 in various of different areas. This was a long process, and I want to make it clear that the suggestions of the tweaks to the skills that I'm about to make are very carefully thought out and none of them are just thrown out there because I was too lazy or too tired to think it over. I have sacrificed a lot of my time and a lot of sex (!) to put these numbers and thoughts on paper for everyone to see, so trust me when I say that I've considered everything that I possibly can.
I hope that you are still reading since this is the part where I saw the most effort, and that effort was massive. So without any further gossiping, let's get the last part of the last section started, enjoy: