Monday, 20 August 2012

Demon Hunter 1.0.4 preview

Full blog post here~
Relevant bits:
Hatred Generators:
...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%
Rain of Vengeance:
Just like Hydra for the wizard, Rain of Vengeance is intended to be a trademark spell for the demon hunter ... 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
EDIT Note the wording - this is NOT a 10x buff. It comes out to about double what it currently does. I neglected to realize this before I submitted the title... I guess it's still a pretty huge buff, but yea.

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.
Alright, so the other hatred generators are getting closer to Devouring Arrow's 235%. We'll have to see the final numbers I suppose, but we can assume Imminent Doom is as close as they will get. While it is somewhat enticing, I just hate how there's such a long delay on Bola shot and it only gets longer on Imminent Doom. Move in the right direction, but I don't think I will move off Devouring Arrow.

As for spenders, nothing is getting close to Cluster Bomb's ridiculous possible maximum damage. It's actually going to be even higher (albeit slightly) now with the base Cluster Arrow grenade buff (ooooh 25% more weapon damage! Too bad the ability already does over 1000% weapon damage if you can aim it well). Also small buffs to Loaded for Bear, but Blizzard misses on also buffing the submunitions that hold the other half of its damage. Don't see anything here that can move me off Cluster Bomb's ridiculous damage potential, but we'll see in the final patch notes.

Rain of Vengeance. I used to run this in Flying Strike form since it was the only ability that could CC Inferno Bosses for extended amounts of time (novelty). I ran this all the way until they nerfed Nether Tentacles. Afterward, I needed the Bat and Marked for Death/Mortal Enemy to fuel my Cluster Bomb madness. I doubt this will see a return to my action bar. While it is 715% over 5 seconds and that averages to 143% weapon damage per second, the issue is that the ability has a 30s cooldown (albeit it is FREE), so you don't get to use this on every engagement and essentially if you use it on every cooldown vs. a single target you gain an average of 28.8% weapon dps (less than the DPS of my Bat, though I concede it will be a great ability to kill mobs of trash with, but who is threatened by trash?). On top of that, it is hard to aim. Is this worth it over Prep, Smoke, Bat, or Mark of Death? Probably not IMO. Maybe if during RoV, you got a buff, or even better your party got a buff, it might be more alluring. 

Again, we'll have to see in the final product.

Lastly, this sentry. This poor poor thing. They doubled its damage (style points, but...). Well... that helps but that's not the reason most people don't use the Sentry. Its that we need to remake it every god damn encounter and it recast it every few damn seconds if you are kiting for 10 disc! 10 disc is nothing to scoff at unless you're running 4 piece Nat's. And with your disc the difference between life and death for most DHs, most DHs simply cannot use the sentry due to its cost. Hydra costs near nothing for Wizards. They need to make it either have a very low disc cost, cost hatred (IE the Hydra), make it cost small amounts of both hatred and disc, or even make it free for people to consider this thing.

I don't think this changes much if anything. This patch makes suboptimal builds less suboptimal as was their goal. Maybe there's something more in the patch that I am missing, but we shall see. DHs remain squishier than other classes with much less utiltiy, but still do a ton of damage.