This kicked off much debate in the post, as well as in our Diablo 3 Beta forum. The issue came up on the B.net forums as well, where Bashiok provided some clarification on the DH modifications underway.
A beta tester namedvery 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 Hatred and not enough AoE or multi-target attack options. It’s also possible that the lack of runestones in the beta factors into this; I think the Witch 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 Demon Hunter skills now, I wonder if something like Spike Trap, or Elemental Arrow, or Multishot could be moved to a lower level, to give the class some more powerful attacks earlier on.