Demon Hunter Skills Being Reordered

We posted news yesterday quoting an Italian CM saying the DiabloWikiDemon Hunter was in for repairs.

We are radically changing the resources management for the DiabloWikiDemon Hunter, including changes to unlocking skills, resources management and more.

This kicked off much debate in the post, as well as in our Diablo 3 Beta forum. The issue came up on the forums as well, where Bashiok provided some clarification on the DH modifications underway.

We’re not overhauling the class, just changing up what skills unlock at which levels and fixing some of their resource starvation issues. It’s easy to change this kind of stuff. Spreadsheet stuff.

A beta tester named AlabasterFilth summed up the DH’s problems very well in one of our forum threads:

I’ve played with all classes, here’s my take on DH:

-not enough AOE. Barb has cleave, Wizard has, well, everything, Monk has Crippling Wave, and Witch Doctor has frogs & bats. The DH’s AOE isn’t very effective. Grenades doesn’t do enough damage, Fan of Knive’s range is too short, Bola is pretty good but has a delay and a very small range. Chakram is the best AOE skill the DH gets by the time she caps at 13, but the trajectory on it is really funky and hard to do a lot of damage with.

-No way to regen hatred until level 12 (Vengeance passive skill). This is big, since all of her good damage-dealing skills rely on using hatred. Wizard has the same problem, but his spells are so powerful they don’t need to be spammed to be effective. I was always hate-starved while playing the DH.

-none of her pre-lvl14 discipline skills do any damage at all. This means you have to use hatred-based skills to do damage, leading more to constantly having an empty hatred orb.

I’m sure she’s a good character, but in the beta, where you can only go to level 13, and the monsters only go up to level 8 or 9, the best characters are those that can efficiently kill large groups. DH can’t do that even at level 13. This is probably where most of the hate comes from; the DH is the weakest character in the early levels.

That seems to mesh pretty well with Bashiok’s comment. The class isn’t getting any big overhaul, but the skill order and balance early on isn’t great, with too much reliance on DiabloWikiHatred and not enough DiabloWikiAoE or multi-target attack options. It’s also possible that the lack of DiabloWikirunestones in the beta factors into this; I think the DiabloWikiWitch Doctor suffers (in the Beta) from their lack, since his low level skills were greatly improved by even level one runes when I played him in the Blizzcon 2010 demo.

Looking at the DiabloWikiDemon Hunter skills now, I wonder if something like DiabloWikiSpike Trap, or DiabloWikiElemental Arrow, or DiabloWikiMultishot could be moved to a lower level, to give the class some more powerful attacks earlier on.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Demon Hunter, Skills


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  1. “Spreadsheet stuff”.  A certain few that claim D3 isn’t coming out until the end of the Mayan calendar should pay attention to the minimal effort it takes to change skills on the dev-side of the table.  I knew this because Blizz will change WoW skills week-to-week, but I’m glad we all have some info to back that up now.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know the time-sensitive side of this is play testing to find balancing issues.

  2. Grenades, chakram, knives and traps NEED to do weapon damage. There is no freaking way they could keep up to skills that use a base damage using weapon scaling.

    • Doesn’t the DH get quivers as class-specific items, to boost damage in a manner similar to Wizard orbs or WD wanga dolls? 

      If that’s the case, I can hardly see the need for making every DH skill based off of the weapon being wielded.  Damage could be boosted through the side items.  That said, the base damage of non-archery skills does seem kind of pathetic.  Maybe just a static starting boost?

      One thing I do wish is that that Grenades and Chakram were just more accurate.  From all of the videos I’ve watched, they seem highly inaccurate and hard to use.  It’d be nice to be able to play a traps/explosives based DH, not using the typical bow/crossbow combinations, but right now that doesn’t seem viable.

    • I saw that the level 60 Chakram does 89 damage on average, which sounds pretty weak.  For sure the 22 ave damage of fan of knives at that level is pathetic.  They need to change damage on those skills.

      • Those damage numbers may be further dependent on character attributes, which the skill calculator may not be correctly accounting for. They may be assuming every attribute is at level 1, or has a value of 1, or something similar.

        • It says its dealing with a level 60 char, and it knows what the attributes on that char are :/

          • It SHOULD know what they are, but perhaps someone didn’t program it quite right. Occam’s razor suggests that its easier to believe someone made an error (or several) rather than players (and hence probably mobs) having thousands of life and only doing dozens of damage.
            I don’t believe for a minute those values are legitimate for a level 60 character with rune level 7 skills in a “real world” application.

          • Pretty sure all damage listed is just the base damage on the skill.

          • Yeah that occurred to me after I posted. That would also make sense, as then it could be modified by stats outside of the server-side scripting.

          • yeah the numbers aren’t taking in gear and what not. With the WD, spells that give back mana / health versus do damage make it all look weird because the mana it returns looks like a lot whereas the damage it does is small. So it all looks out of whack with eachother. This suggests that gear greatly increases the total damage done with these skills.

    • As was discussed in the forum thread, there’s a few things wrong.
      A) The attack stat raises ALL damage. It’s a multiplier to the base damage. The base damage of grenades is fixed. The base damage of arrows can be raised through better weapons. Ergo, arrows get better from an extra source of scaling that grenades can’t use.
      B) If they do the caster thing and fix the base damage (and have the weapon provide the extra coefficients before you multiply by attack), then hunters have to juggle two main weapon stats, which gets convoluted w/o actually adding anything really interesting or fun. If you find a high damage bow w/ no “hunter spell power” on it, then your build probably won’t use grenades. The opposite is also true; either way, it makes mixing in grenades and bow skills cumbersome. If “hunter spell power” affects bow skills, then it defeats the purpose again (b/c bow skills will still out scale grenades). If they just give you spell power and high weapon damage together, then what’s the point in the first place?
      C) I really want to play a ninja!cUa!aZYbYb

  3. Well, don’t forget alot of the Chakram/Grenade runes adjust how they are deployed. The path for the Charkam with some of the runes is completely different, like the Boomerang Indigo that’ll go in a wide circle and come to you.

  4. I don’t see the point of having traps use discipline. I don’t actually see the point of the entire resource system myself, and I’m horribly underwhelmed by the DH in general, so maybe I’m biased.

    • The point of the entire resource system – you’ll note that unlike the Wiz, who also has a fast-generating resource for her offensive skills, the DH has almost no skills on cooldown. I think that’s the main point and as someone who hates cooldown, I absolutely love it.

    • They’ve set it up so that abilities that require forethought (ie, need to be set up) require discipline to use, while the more offensive abilities require hatred to use.

      I was never a fan of the demon hunter, but it’s definitely growing on me.

  5. If I was to change the skill order it would be something like this.

    Hungering Arrow (lvl 1)
    Bola Shot (lvl 2)
    Elemental Arrow (lvl 4)
    Multishot (lvl 8 )
    Grenades (lvl 12)
    Chakram (lvl 16)
    Impale (lvl 18)
    Cluster Arrow (lvl 21)
    Rapid Fire (lvl 24)
    Stafe (lvl 27)
    Rain of Vengeance (lvl 29)

    Caltrops (lvl 1)
    Vault (lvl 3)
    Companion (lvl 6)
    Marked for Death (lvl 11)
    Smoke Screen (lvl 19)
    Sentry (lvl 22)
    Shadow Power (lvl 25)

    Utility (have these skills spend a small amount of both Hatred and Discipline)
    Fan of Knives (lvl 5)
    Evasive Fire (lvl 7)
    Spike Trap (lvl 9)
    Entangling Shot (lvl14)
    Preparation (lvl 23)

    • Multishot should definitely be a skill obtainable between level 8-10. Hopefully they won’t nerf it into oblivion if they put it there instead of level 21.

  6. Well, to solve tha aoe aspect of it, multishot or elemental shot would fix that. I’d probably go with elemental shot being dropped down to level 4 or something. Leave mutishot for a higher level (right up there with rapid shot).

    As for the hatred starvation / discipline being useless.. maybe entangling shot should use discipline instead of hatred (given that it ‘sets up’ something rather than kills it). Hungering arrow should have a higher pierce % too I think.

    Chakram should have better pathing.

    So, elemental shot at level 4
    entangling shot uses discipline, not hatred
    hungering arrow has higher pierce %
    better chakram pathing.

    • I agree with elemental shot being at a lower level. That would make the DH being a better utility in a group. 

      For Chakram I think instead of better pathing 2 or 3 smaller Chakrams would be better to throw out per use that have a slight wide range. If you noticed that Chakram would miss some mobs with one pathing out. I wouldn’t say have a wide path, the path would stay the same just more out at the same time to cover a cone area so that multiple targets would get hit for same damage as one.

    • If entangling shot used discipline then people that use it as one of their standard attacks (since it does do decent damage on top of the slow) would be discipline starved, that stuff is the slowest generating resource in the game…

      • It probably shouldn’t be a main damage skill (at least not w/o a rune). It should be a utility shot, and a rune could turn it into a standard damage ability/use hatred.

  7. Recommendation:  Have one resource (i.e Discipline) As discipline skills are used, discipline resource increases. Concept: Demon Hunter gains more self-control. (similar to Barb’s fury)
    However, as hatred skills are used, discipline resource decreases. Concept: Demon Hunter loses his/her discipline. 
    Thus there is a new strategy in balancing the use of hatred and discipline skills. And if not using discipline resource, then maybe use hatred resource.

  8. Makes me wonder what were they doing during all these years of developing… It will be a miracle, if Bliz will release it before summer 2012.

  9. Let me get this straight … according to this article a beta tester played up to level 12 and realized the dh did not have much aoe? …
    Oh well then might as well overhaul the whole class … and while we are at it. Since we are balancing the game upon a level 12 as max level – might as well give the barb a aoe clearing skill like the wizard.
    oh ya this is just the beta where we can only level to level 13 …
    either blizz needs to let people test past level 13 or people need to ‘trust’ in blizz (ya right Ill take the 1st one too 😉

  10. No. Discipline would become an endless resource as long as you spam discipline, which is, apart form being game breaking, absolutely the opostie way of how it’s intended to be used – sparse

  11. I don’t think its just an issue of re-ordering. If those early skills are simply not upto par with things like multishot/spike trap then people will never use them.  To my mind its just as much a case of needing to tweak numbers so that those skills fall behind..or we end up in the same situation as the firebolts of D2.

    While they’re at it, how about adding Frozen Orb to the Wizard?

  13. The need to be really careful with this aoe thing. If all characters have a good aoe, then in all likelihood that will be like the only move they will ever use – aka Diablo 2 and Torchlight >_>

  14. I think another issue that has been brought up in other areas is hatred consumption vs weapon type.

    As it stands most shots benefit more from using a slower 2-handed weapon.  You hit harder with them and use less hatred overal since your rate of fire is lower.  Hatred usage doesn’t seem to scale based on weapon speed so using two faster hand crossbows seems like a weaker selection since you’ll find yourself gassed much quick for doing less damage.

    There needs to be some resource scaling based on weapon speed otherwise I feel like dual crossbow builds won’t even be viable because they’ll chew up resources so much faster than bow/crossbow builds.

  15. The demon hunter was the first class I played through the beta with. It will be my class of choice in Retail. Your comparison to arcane power and the wizard is very telling. There is a big difference here is that spells scale with level and DH skills scale (for the most part) with Weapon Damage. 

    The only problem is there are not good damage bows for the DH.
    I have yet to find a bow with a DPS over 12.5.  In videos you find monks and barbs swinging things with MUCH higher dps and so they seem far more effective.

  16. The DH doesn’t look wildly over-powered at these lower levels and some think that’s a problem? I agree some good tweaking is in order but the DH is the only one that looks marginally well-balanced at these early stages.

  17. I don’t like the mentality of the person critiquing the DH class, because the person seems to be working with the premise that classes should be equal in AOE, DD, and DOT type skills. Perhaps the DH has inferior AOE skills, but good DD skills? Perhaps it doesn’t… (I’m not in beta).
    My main point is I think each class should bring their own distinctive thing to the game play table and not just differ in aesthetics and background story.

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