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Illidan Fans Rejoice - Your Time is Nigh

Garrett Fuller Posted:
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Come August 9th World of Warcraft players will be treated to the first new Hero Class in years. We had the chance to go through a making of retrospective for the class with the Blizzard team. The guys dug deep to talk about the feel of the class and how it operates among the rest that everyone has played for over a decade now.  The guys dug deep to talk about the feel of the class and how it operates among the rest that everyone has played for over a decade now.

The team began by talking about how each expansion comes with about two or three themes. These major themes will carry across the whole of the game in several different ways. For Legion they knew they wanted to move forward on the invasion, but instead of going back to the people of Azeroth making the move again, it was much better to have the third coming of the Legion to Azeroth itself. They basically took a spot on the map and said, okay, the Legion is invading right here. Once the idea that demons would be heavily involved was kicked around, it became clear that Illidan would be a big part of the story line.

As Illidan became more prominent in the meetings more people began talking about creating a Demon Hunter class for the expansion. It did not take long for everyone to get on board. Soon, ideas were abound and the developers began working up all the mechanics of the class. It all came from the heart though, the passion that Warcraft players have had for a long time to play and fight as these heroes. The team explained that everyone had been waiting years to play a demon hunter.

Once they have the idea for the class everything is added on in layers. Armor, weapons, skills, talents, they all start to flow into the build of what people want to play. Blizzard has a history of making sure things are fun and solid before they even hit the test servers. Since Legion Alpha players have been helping to tweak and fine tune the class. At their core the Demon Hunters are all about Fel Magic and mobility.

The feel of the class was important. They wanted them to work in a way that combined the monk and warlock classes into a single demon slaying force. The mobility was critical to the class and how it worked against foes. Not only that, but the simple double jump mechanic was something no one thought would make it into the game. However, the monk had proven that players really love their mobility and so the idea carried over. The double jump made the cut and is now such a great part of the class.

When working on the Vengeance spec for the Tank part of the class the team wanted to make sure that players could remain in one spot and fight without having to move around too much. As tanks know well, positioning is critical. So the tank spec does allow for the Demon Hunter to go toe to toe with foes and not have to move all over the place. The team worked hard to make sure that rotations remain very active when in this form. Sigils also play a key role for the Vengeance spec. A player can use sigils in several different ways to impact groups of monsters or a boss. The Sigils work similar to Warlock circles and can stun or silence foes depending on what you need at the moment. These abilities can turn the tide of a fight very quickly.

The Havoc spec is pure DPS. A fel-wielding agile fighter that exemplifies the true archetype of the class. This spec is more about dominating and hunting down demons. Havoc hopes to shine in five man content, which is something the Blizzard team has been looking forward to working on for some time. The five man instances in this expansion play a big role and allow people to really play great content without having to go crazy in a large raid. The raids are still there, but you will have a lot of fun in the smaller dungeons with your friends.

Finally we talked about how the team created a very strong backstory for the starting zone. Similar to the Death Knight in Wrath of the Lich King they wanted to make the Demon Hunter's beginningfeel important and work well with the other classes who have been around for years. Demon Hunters start at level 98, at a point in time of Azeroth where the world is on the brink of something massive, so there is plenty of story to put into their beginning. The big question for the team was why would players from Azeroth ally with any demon hunters at all? That plays a big part into the story of the expansion. In essence the invasion of the Legion has made things so bad, the people of Azeroth are pretty much forced to work with the Demon Hunters (and Illidan too) to rid the land of this menace.

The Demon Hunter is almost here and we’ll all be giving it a try this week. Of all the options added to Warcraft over the years it will be very interesting to see how quickly players pick up this class and make it their own. 


Garrett Fuller

Garrett Fuller / Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997 and writing about them since 2005. He joined MMORPG.com has a volunteer writer and now handles Industry Relations for the website. He has been gaming since 1979 when his cousin showed him a copy of Dungeons and Dragons. When not spending time with his family, Garrett also Larps and plays Airsoft in his spare time.