Patch 1.0.4 Class Preview: Demon Hunter

Patch 1.0.4 Class Preview: Demon Hunter
Blizzard has just posted the fourth class preview for patch 1.0.4. You can check the Barbarian's preview here,the Wizard's preview here, and the Monk preview here. The remaining class preview should be out later today, so keep checking back!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Hungering Arrow is currently the best-performing Hatred Generator for demon hunters. With its high theoretical damage output, strong Hatred generation, and straightforward mechanics, it's an easy go-to skill to have on your bar.

As with other classes, when there's a single skill (or set of skills) that is much stronger or more worthwhile to use, it curbs potential build diversity. To help open up some other options, we're taking a look at Hatred Generators and Spenders, as well as some of the demon hunter's more iconic abilities like Rain of Vengeance and Sentry, and will be upping the damage on all of them.


Hatred Generators
Four skills are intended to compete with Hungering Arrow as a Hatred Generator: Entangling Shot, Bola Shot, Evasive Fire, and Grenades. While each of these skills offer some unique utility options (Entangling Shot slows enemies, Bola Shot has an AoE component, Evasive Fire provides an escape route, and Grenades can bounce off walls), their damage just isn’t competitive enough when compared to the theoretical damage of Hungering Arrow and its rune variants.

In the case of Grenades, the skill has some minor mechanical and control issues that keep its unique ability to bounce off walls from really shining through. It can be difficult to get the grenade projectiles to where you want them, and using the skill doesn’t always feel very smooth. We explored some alternate targeting methods over the course of 1.0.4's development cycle to help improve this, but we weren't happy with anything we came up with. Most often, we found that by introducing targeting that allowed Grenades to bounce off a wall in a satisfying way, it would often make it so you couldn’t hit a monster you directly clicked on. Unfortunately, we haven’t found a great solution yet, so the Grenades skill isn't going to get as much love this patch. However, we do want to revisit the skill in the future.

As for the other three Hatred Generators, rather than nerfing Hungering Arrow to be less powerful, we’re instead bringing up the damage values for all three skills to make them more attractive. To use Bola Shot as an example:
  • Damage to the primary target is being increased from 130% to 160%
  • Damage for Thunder Ball and Acid Strike is also being increased from 130% to 160%
  • Damage for Imminent Doom to the primary target is being increased from 182% to 216%
With these changes, Hungering Arrow will still do more theoretical damage against a single target, but Bola Shot damage will become a viable DPS alternative and it will also do AoE damage. Entangling Shot and Evasive Fire are receiving boosts to their damage as well, so they should be much more compelling choices when it comes to Hatred generation. Much like Bola Shot, they won't compete directly with Hungering Arrow in terms of raw theoretical damage to a single target, but the DPS loss won’t be as great in order to gain the utility they offer.


Hatred Spenders
Our general philosophy for resource-spending skills (and this applies across all classes) is if you take the time to spend your resource, we want you to feel like you got a good return for it. Elemental Arrow is currently the most popular Hatred Spender in the demon hunter's arsenal and a good example for what works — given how quickly you can fire off each arrow, you can deal a lot of damage to nearby enemies. Unfortunately, many of the other Hatred Spenders fail to meet this benchmark in terms of DPS output, so we're buffing them up to match.

To give you an idea of what kind of increases you’ll see in 1.0.4, let's use Chakram and Cluster Arrow as examples.

Chakram:
  • We're increasing its damage from 150% to 170%
  • We're increasing the damage for Twin Chakrams from 100% to 114%
  • We're increasing the damage for Serpentine from 203% to 230%
  • We're increasing the damage for Razor Disk from 165% to 187%
  • We're increasing the damage for Boomerang from 188% to 230%
  • We're increasing the damage for Shuriken Cloud from 30% to 34%
Cluster Arrow:
  • We're increasing the initial bomb damage from 200% to 225%
  • We're increasing damage for Maelstrom from 145% to 165%
  • We're increasing damage for Loaded for Bear from 290% to 304%

Iconic Abilities
Just like Hydra for the wizard, Rain of Vengeance is intended to be a trademark spell for the demon hunter. We want it to be one of those buttons on your bar that you look forward to pushing — not only because it's visually very fitting for the class, but also because it packs one hell of a punch.

While the skill is where it needs to be visually, mechanically it lacks the "oomph" that most iconic class abilities possess. Its damage is just far too low to compete with other skills available.

To bring Rain of Vengeance up to the level it needs to be, we made some pretty notable changes. Not only did we buff the damage, but Rain of Vengeance is one of the skills being converted to a strict X% weapon damage over Y seconds format, as alluded to in the Systems Preview. As a result, the new base skill is quite potent:


Current: 75% weapon damage for 5 seconds
1.0.4: 715% weapon damage over 5 seconds


(Anathema now also uses the "X% weapon damage over Y seconds format." Meanwhile, Dark Cloud, Beastly Bombs, Stampede, and Flying Strike are receiving straight boosts to their damage. )

Sentry is also a very distinctive spell that doesn't get used very often. It's interesting mechanically, and it has some nice potential for team play, so we'd like to make it more attractive. The solution was pretty simple for this one: we took its damage, and then we doubled it.


Be sure to check out our other class previews for patch 1.0.4: Wyatt Cheng is a Senior Technical Game Designer for Diablo III. While living in Texas, a scorpion once crawled out of his shoe. :(

Comments

  • #1 callert
    % buffs, yay
  • #2 cura
    RIP Demon Hunters? (lol)
  • #3 HamburgerBun
    Quote from Lixo

    RIP Demon Hunters? (lol)

    Nah we kick lots of ass... things just melt when we show up but we can be a bit fragile.
  • #4 MrBlaine
    I expected something more to be seen about dh's survivability. But those are just buffs to already awesome spells...
  • #5 Unreal
    lol. let`s try nuking with rain of vengeance X_X
  • #6 Ruppgu
    Glad to see there's more info in this one. Not sure how worthwhile the changes are... My DH is still low level :)
  • #7 lorien1973
    Wyatt Cheng is a Senior Technical Game Designer for Diablo III. While living in Texas, a scorpion once crawled out of his shoe. :(

    This is almost a guaranteed situation if you live in TX.
  • #8 Cyeron

    Official Blizzard Quote:



    The solution was pretty simple for this one (sentry): we took its damage, and then we doubled it.

    So much for that...

    Anyway

    Looking forward to actually be using Rain again ^_^
  • #9 GreenWins
    Anyone else thought that this was just pathetic.

    They didn't actually do anything except buff %.
  • #10 Greenjoke
    i'm glad some skills are getting buffed, but none of this changes what goes on my bar unfortunately. maybe some of the changes not mentioned will.

    it doesn't matter that they buff the other hatred generators. i need a skill that does single target damage on my left mouse. it's still going to be hungering. i don't need it to do aoe damage. i have an aoe ability on my right mouse. if i want to aoe, i hit my right mouse to spend hatred. so buffing the damage of those other abilities changes nothing.

    the aoe spender changes also doesn't help. i use ball of lightning almost always. not because of any theoretical damage. the way it functions in most situations is superior to the rest. slightly buffing the damage of other skills isn't going to make me switch.
  • #11 hemlockrogue
    Am I the only one that thinks the Diablo III development team are the laziest people on the planet?

    Everyone complains how the game has no end game, class balance, unrewarding drops, no PvP and cookie cutter builds.

    Their solution add a couple of % more damage to underused skills and some procs to legendaries.

    You know what everyone is still going to use the same overpowered skills as they did pre-patch and still be bored senseless with their items.

    This is kind of pathetic, but this lack of imagination is what I have come to expect from Blizzard these days.
  • #12 Beregond
    They didn't get that Hungering Arrow is used over other spenders for the auto aim off screen while running, not really for the extra damage...

    Same for me btw, if they won't nerf reflect damage my skill bar will probably remain untouched (assuming no stealth nerfs, they really love em...)
  • #13 Slayerviper
    Quote from Greenjoke

    i'm glad some skills are getting buffed, but none of this changes what goes on my bar unfortunately. maybe some of the changes not mentioned will.

    it doesn't matter that they buff the other hatred generators. i need a skill that does single target damage on my left mouse. it's still going to be hungering. i don't need it to do aoe damage. i have an aoe ability on my right mouse. if i want to aoe, i hit my right mouse to spend hatred. so buffing the damage of those other abilities changes nothing.

    the aoe spender changes also doesn't help. i use ball of lightning almost always. not because of any theoretical damage. the way it functions in most situations is superior to the rest. slightly buffing the damage of other skills isn't going to make me switch.


    Agreed, out of all the previews mentioned so far, the DH has been the worst, I'll be using rain of vengeance again... but that's about it. I hope the WD isn't a big flop... ugh
  • #14 Failwing
    Quote from Lixo

    RIP Demon Hunters? (lol)


    Uhm....why? There is no single nerf?
  • #15 MAldenB
    Glad they're leaving grenades alone, to be honest. Stun bombs are quintessential for me the way they are now. They just take practice.
  • #16 st0rmie
    Quote from hemlockrogue

    Am I the only one that thinks the Diablo III development team are the laziest people on the planet?


    Am I the only one that thinks that if I wanted to hear crybabies whining and throwing temper tantrums there's already a perfectly good set of official D3 forums where I can do that?
  • #17 Steamrice
    What are you guys expecting? The abilities are there, theres LOTS of them and they aren't being used because their damage is crap and not up to par with the obvious choices that do most dmg.

    What else do you want them to do? change them even though they don't need to be changed considering they are already alternatives of a base ability?
  • #18 TwirlingFern
    Well, they buffed some useless skills. Before they were 100% shit, now they are 50% shit. Do improvements to other hungering runes? The other hatred generators are pointless even after buff. Lol.. 10% more damage on chakram.

    Sentry- we've taken a sack of shit- and Doubled it! Who is going to use up a spot for 40% single target dmg fired once in a while?

    Devoring arrow: homing, 280% dmg, fires offscreen
    Ball lightning- big aoe and piercing, cheap

    Unless they serviously buff other skills, these buffs are not enough. It's not only damage but functionality.

    We'll see if they improve other runes on fan of knives. Only the double range one is good.
  • #19 Frozenkex
    SS/prep still mandatory - they fixed nothing.
  • #20 Monstah
    Kinda fun how everyone just comments on this PREVIEW like these changes are all thats coming. We havnt seen what other changes there are yet.
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