Havoc was probably the spec I anticipated playing the most, and not to give away the tone of my entire article, but it was worth it for the most part. Before I go into my feedback on the DPS rotation, I need to talk about this class’s mobility because it’s honestly the most fun thing to do in the game. Warrior has been my main class since WotLK, so I am no stranger to mobility and the fun it brings, as abilities like Heroic Leap, Intervene, and Charge have given Warrior players great enjoyment. However, I must say that the Demon Hunter’s own mobility is probably even more fun; Fel Rush, Vengeful Retreat, Double Jump, and Glide make this class fun to play just sitting in town or running between quest hubs. Just like a kid finding a cardboard box to play in, all you need to do as a Demon Hunter is find a series of big hills, maybe even a cliff, and then you can start having terrific fun zipping around, jumping high into the air, gliding down, whatever. The sheer acrobatics this class is capable of is quite staggering and the fun only grows when you include Metamorphosis and Fury of the Illidari for even more shenanigans. In short, whatever the class lacks in depth of rotation, abilities, or cooldowns, it more than makes up for it with the joy of mobility. Okay, enough lovey-dovey stuff – on to the review.
The Havoc single target rotation is simple and I know I’m not the first person to say that, but I’m not 100% sure that simplicity is a bad thing in this case. Is it boring? Some might say that it is, but I would argue that all specs are going through some trimming that will change most of them to be a similar experience. So if you think Havoc is too simple, just wait until you see the other specs. Havoc’s single target rotation is primarily Demon’s Bite and Chaos Strike at its absolute base, with the addition of interesting abilities such as Eye Beam, Blade Dance and Throw Glaive. Eye Beam was my favorite ability out of the extra rotational abilities since big numbers are always sexy and you get a sweet animation along with it. I have some issues with the other abilities however – it looks like Blade Dance and Throw Glaive are going to be part of your single-target rotation since they deal more damage than Demon’s Bite, and even more damage when you factor in class talents and traits. This felt weird to me because they come off as intended for just AoE, but it felt inefficient to use Demon’s Bite over them if they were available. The abilities themselves were not as enjoyable to use because both abilities are tuned to deal similar damage. The only real difference between the two is an animation and what their associated talents do. Overall, I had fun with the single-target rotation since there were enough abilities that it did not get bland and enough RNG from Demon’s Bite Fury refund to keep you engaged. A solid AoE rotation, as you might have guessed, does not really exist at this time. Eye Beam, Chaos Nova, Throw Glaive, and Blade Dance are all useful on single targets even though they really shine for AoE. Eye Beam does immense damage even on just one target. So unless you’re expecting a group of adds to spawn soon, you will want to use it on cooldown. Chaos Nova feels weird to use in a rotation because the ability is mainly there for its crowd control aspect, but since it deals more damage than a Demon’s Bite and also deals chaos damage (Chaos Nova scales with your mastery while Demon’s Bite does not), it’s worth using just for its damage. On the whole, Havoc’s AoE damage is focused primarily on burst with no consistent AoE damage abilities, but we will probably see more consistency added once the cooldown reduction portion of Master of the Glaive is actually working, which would allow for Throw Glaive to fill in the gaps of the AoE rotation. Regardless, I would still like to see Throw Glaive altered to be focused much more heavily on AoE in order to distinguish the single target and multi target rotations from one another. As it stands right now, it feels pretty strange to have mastered your Havoc Demon Hunter after learning to spam your damaging abilities on cooldown and spend enough Fury to never cap. I know it’s not that simple, but we are awfully close right now.
Before I give my feedback on Havoc’s talents, I would like to say that they seem pretty far from finished and some even feel like placeholders until something better comes along. I imagine we will see an update soon that overhauls the entire talent tree, so do not take my feedback as the final verdict. First Row: First Blood is actually the kind of talent I would like to see more of in the tree because it shifts Blade Dance from a gray area of fitting both single target and AoE roles to primarily a single target role. I usually picked this up during dungeons when we came upon a boss that I knew did not spawn adds. Blind Fury was my other go-to for this tier because Eye Beam does insane amounts of damage, plus the talent combos very well with Anguish of the Deceiver (even though the trait was bugged at the time of this review). I usually stayed away from Fel Mastery because I preferred to keep Fel Rush strictly as a mobility option and I don’t think the Devs are going to make Fel Rush a rotational attack in the long-term. Second Row: Prepared was my favorite talent of this tier due to the fun I got from being able to Vengeful Retreat more, but I spec’d out of it whenever I needed to actually DPS seriously due to the other choices being better. The talent could see a use for it in a raid environment since you can keep your Fury consistently topped off while out of combat by using Vengeful Retreat on cooldown, but until I can test it in raids I will just take Master of the Glaive. Demon Blades really felt out of place here because it essentially turned Fury into Rage. I don’t think the talent has a place in the tree in the long-term since it makes this already simple spec even simpler. Master of the Glaive is the real star of this tier and one that I hope they keep moving forward. It is currently bugged to not reduce the cooldown of Throw Glaive, but the bonus damage works and I chose this talent pretty much all the time because the damage was so immense. I imagine Havoc’s AoE will feel much more engaging (and push DPS higher, too) once this talent is fixed. Third Row: Demon Reborn feels like one of those filler talents that are going to be gone soon. Metamorphosis does not increase your damage dealt; it simply transforms Chaos Strike into Annihilation and Blade Dance into Death Sweep. Therefore, you really don’t want to be using any other abilities during Metamorphosis because they are not boosted by Metamorphosis. For that reason, I don’t see Demon Reborn being very good, especially since the only ability I would really want to reset is Eye Beam. If it does stick around though, I’m sure the Theorycrafters will let us know if it’s good. Bloodlet is the star of this row and syncs very well with Master of the Glaive because the bonus damage the latter gives applies to the DoT of the former. While I do like this talent, I am worried that it will only further cement Throw Glaive’s place in the Havoc single target rotation because the DoT damage constantly builds if you are using Throw Glaive on cooldown. That concern aside, I actually liked this talent a lot. Feed the Demon, on the other hand, is pretty useless. I cannot see it being good in any situation since you must get the killing blow on the mob to get the Soul Fragment to spawn and Metamorphosis has a hefty 6-minute cooldown. It will probably be removed. Fourth Row: This entire row feels like a placeholder. Desperate Instincts is just a worse version of Blur – which it replaces – and Blur is not even a good ‘oh sh–‘ ability to begin with since 50% dodge is not going to save you from much. Netherwalk is the only ability with any potential on this row only because you can probably cheese raid mechanics with it, such as Xhul’Horac’s Empowered Black Hole. Even then, a talent that causes 5 seconds of no attacks feels quite contrary to the aggressive nature of Demon Hunters, so I dislike its presence despite its usefulness. Soul Rending was the only talent I ever took only because it didn’t replace Blur. The free 100% leech was nice during Metamorphosis, but a 6-minute cooldown on the ability makes this a poor defensive talent anyhow. Fifth Row: I really liked Nemesis even though its function screams ‘filler talent’. Nemesis plays into the ‘hunter’ aspect of the Demon Hunter and allows you to turn that unchecked aggression and fury at other creatures besides demons. I know it’s a simple talent, but I like the fantasy behind it and, of course, that damage increase. I would almost like to see this talent made baseline, but Demon Hunters are already packing quite a few abilities with a one minute cooldown. Chaos Cleave was the other ability I usually chose in dungeons; the addition of a second target on Chaos Strike is great, so I imagine you will pick up this talent for dungeon trash, raid trash, or Raid Bosses that deal Cleave damage. Momentum was a talent I was really interested in initially, but ended up disliking because it felt cumbersome to use. I get the idea behind it – Momentum grants a damage bonus when you incorporate your mobility abilities into a fight, but the buff’s 4 second duration is just too short. Fel Rush constantly moves you something like 15 or 20 yards, so using it to proc Momentum is going to make you waste a second or two just walking back to your target. Blade Dance and Vengeful Retreat’s cooldowns are too long to constantly maintain the buff by themselves so you don’t have the option of not using Fel Rush to maintain the buff. I hope they work on the talent further since we need more talents that reward players for playing well. Then again, maybe I was just playing too badly to use the talent correctly. Oh well. Sixth Row: This row is definitely another filler row. Improved Chaos Nova was the only sensible choice since the damage of Chaos Nova scales with your Mastery. I’ll Swallow Your Soul is useless, even when questing, since you already generate 50 Fury just from using two Demon’s Bites. Cull the Weak is even more useless, as the only slowing ability Demon Hunter’s have is Vengeful Retreat, and that only lasts 3 seconds. Nothing here to really to give any significant feedback on. Seventh Row: Not available for testing yet. 🙁
Fury of the Illidari is the first ability you get from your Havoc artifact and the extra mobility you gain made it so much fun to play with, but I do have some qualms with it. The ability felt really lacking due to how clunky it was to use and how little damage it did. The ability’s clunkiness stems from the slow travel time of the projectiles and the entire global cooldown you have to wait before jumping to your glaives. The delay makes the ability worse to use for its intended purpose (for raiding anyway) – burst AoE damage. Fury of the Illidari’s supporting talent, Rage of the Illidari, comes across as weak to me, by extension, since its own damage is based on that of the active ability. If the clunkiness and low damage were fixed, I could see this being very useful for damage, alongside its use for closing a gap. There are many great passive traits here as well that really stood out to me from all the sub-par ones in the Warrior artifacts. The proc on the weapons themselves, Chaos of the Deceiver, was fun and helped diversify Havoc’s basic rotation. Chaos Strike proved to be the centerpiece of the entire play-style, and having the proc gave the single target rotation some much needed variety that it would have been lacking otherwise. While I was not able to reach Inner Demons in the current alpha build, I am still quite excited to try it out in a future build due to how lacking Havoc’s AoE DPS felt when I was testing the spec. Plus, getting another cool animation is always great. Demon Speed was probably the most fun artifact trait I have played with in the alpha so far, even if it was not really useful for anything besides zipping around. I liked the interaction the trait provided anyway since Havoc needs more synergy and interaction between its abilities to help add some depth to the simple spec. The artifact could have been even cooler if Blizzard had fixed some of the passive traits in the last alpha build. One of Havoc’s flagship abilities, Anguish of the Deceiver, was bugged and did zero damage upon explosion. That means I wasted my artifact power by working toward that trait. Feast on the Souls looked very fun and worth picking up while I was leveling since so many of Havoc’s cooldowns are so short. Sadly, it turned out to be not be working either. Combine the bugged traits with the bland ones, like Unleashed Demons and Illidari Knowledge, and you have a somewhat disappointing artifact experience for Havoc in the alpha. Despite those shortcomings, I still enjoyed the overall Demon Hunter experience and cannot wait to see what Blizzard does with them next. What are your thoughts on the spec so far? Let us know in the comments below!