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Liveblog: Demon Hunter Q&A with Jonathan LeCraft

After a week off for the launch of patch 7.0, today we have an all new Legion Q&A — it promises to be a good one. Yep, today is all about Demon Hunters with Senior Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft (AKA @TheCrafticus) answering your questions. Even if you haven’t submitted any questions yourself, these Q&As are packed with information about how things will work in Legion as well as insight into what the designers are thinking. If you’re planning on playing a Demon Hunter, you should definitely tune in.

You can watch it live on Twitch (for those of you checking this post later, you should be able to find it on VOD at that link once it’s over) or, if you can’t, follow along with us here — it will be starting in just a few minutes!

Q:  Why have Demon Hunters talents all unlock at 110 instead of 100?

A:  We wanted something to look forward as you’re leveling up. It gives you time to figure out your abilities.

Q: Why not start at level 90 and have them work to 110?

A: We did that with Death Knights and we kind of felt that wasn’t the right call. You start in Outland and everyone else is in Wrath. We wanted to send you right into it.

Q: Don’t you feel Demon Hunters will feel weak compared to other classes?

A: Clearly they will be missing some power. When most classes level from 100 to 110 we give you a big chunk of base stats. It substantially increases your DPS. Instead, with Demon Hunters, we give you most of that up front. For the most part we focused our balance at 110, so if things are a little weird pre-patch it will get better.

Q: Will Demon Hunters be fully playable with pre-Legion content with early access?

A: You get it all. You can do the full starting expensive and jump into the game to do what you were born to do and kill demons. You don’t go through the Broken Shores intro, though.

Q: Will Demon Hunters have access to a garrison?

A: Yes. It won’t be a boosted one, though. So if you want to jump in, start a fishing raid…

Q: Will Demon Hunters get a boost to professions or will they have to start from zero?

A: It will be like Death Knights. Professions have become more skill agnostic and if you want to powerlevel a professions you can use Draenor materials for the most part. And people probably have a bank full of ore or level or whatever. And you can level in the pre-patch.

Q: How will you make Demon Blades not the top choice for that tier?

A: This takes your builder away, it kind of goes off in the background instead. But the goal of that is to be the worst in that tier, it’s for people who want that playstyle. I don’t think it’s always been like that in the beta. But it should be just a 1% or 2% lower theoretical maximum.

Q: Will the warglaive from the demon invasion be BoE or BoA if you don’t have a Demon Hunter yet?

A: They’ve hotfixed it to be BoA so you’ll be able to get it and send it to your Demon Hunter whenever you make it.

Q: Havoc survivability has been a hot topic. Any plan to address their self-healing?

A: We’re looking at that this week. We’re looking at that 104 defensive row, blur, and also PVP talents, but we haven’t really decided. But it’s on the radar.

Q: I like the playstyle of Vengeance, but it feels as squishy as a DPS. Do you plan on doing something about that?

A: We’re going to take a second look. There have been a lot of changes to tanks since Warlords, though Demon Hunters might be a little squishier than they need to be.

Q: Will the Night Elf Illidari be accepted back into Night Elf society and culture?

A: There’s a lot of animosity there. That’s something we’ll be exploring throughout Legion.

Q: How will you balance Demon Hunter mobility in comparison to other classes?

A: I think they’re probably on par with, if not even a little less than Monks right now. They actually don’t have any good breaks which is something the PVP team is watching closely. We’ve been getting fantastic feedback from the beta. This is a brand new class, so it is important to see how it plays out in the live game. Mobility is definitely a topic we’re keeping an eye on. Their mobility is very high until they’re snared.

Q: Spectral Sight seems to be a hard counter to stealth. How does this function in PVP? Are Rogues done for?

A: This lets you see through barriers, stealth, etc. It has a 30 second cooldown and lasts for 10 seconds, but while it’s active you’re slowed down and any damage you take and abilities you use will cancel it. We’ve taken measures to get it to a more balanced place, but it’s definitely going to be a strong counter for Rogues. But in PVP it will be about teamwork.

Q: Can Demon Hunters have the option to hide their chest piece to show off their tattoos?

A: I reviewed the chest armor we give out and it’s pretty revealing, so you can see almost all of your tattoos. And because you can turn off your shoulders and your helm you can show off your tattoos. Obviously for female characters there’s a little more covering.

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Q: Will we ever get Illidan’s Glaives as an artifact model?

A: We’re not going to do anything to the old ones. They’ll remain swords for anyone who obtained them. But I think it’s a great opportunity and we’re going to look for some way to put that in. I don’t know when or where or how but this is something we’ve talked about already.

Q: Will Demon Hunters be able to communicate cross-faction with demonic language.

A: That would be hilarious. Actually yes, they can. That’s going to be something a little bit different. Could be some choice words being said or it could be just “Hey.”

Q: Will other races be able to become Demon Hunters in the future?

A: Elves are the fantasy that’s been presented since forever. No immediate plans. Doing just elves gave us the flexibility to do a little more than we usually do with their own voiceover lines and more. That doesn’t make it impossible to add another race but it makes it more difficult to keep up with them. But lore wise we’ll probably stick to just the Elves. But never say never. Maybe Gnoll Demon Hunters in the future.

Q: After Legion, will Demon Hunters still have warglaives as weapons?

A: They can use swords, axes, daggers, and fist weapons. Daggers is mostly cosmetic; I don’t know how serious that will be as a weapon for them. It’s to be determined as to the transmog restrictions. That’s a “future us” problem.

Q: Is animation canceling supposed to be intended for Demon Hunter DPS to be successful? There have been some beta builds where the best way to DPS was to make macros to automatically cancel your Fel Rush to do it standing still, etc.

A: We’ve been doing everything we can to prevent that with code. It’s not intended gameplay. It’s a tough one to solve because players are very clever and very tenacious. If that ends up being completely unsolvable we can take a design approach and change or remove those talents.

Q: Will Demon Hunters be able to use their wings for actual flying where flying is enabled?

A: I know that’s what everybody wants but we’re probably not going to do that. We’ve talked about it but don’t feel it’s really the right kit for them. Illidan does some flying but it’s more of a hover… and he’s also the most powerful Demon Hunter. It’s going to be a lore call more than anything.

Q: Will more minor glyphs come out for Demon Hunters such as a glyph to always show wings?

A: Same thing as with flying. We don’t think it necessarily looks great to have the wings out all the time. They don’t necessarily work with the animations very well. They aren’t really supposed to be part of your person, but something that sprout out in times of dire need, like when you’re falling to your death. We’re talking about it but probably no.

Q: Did giving Demon Hunters double jump make you worry about them breaking some bosses?

A: That made us worry about breaking everything but not as much on bosses as you might think. We knew we were doing it pretty early so we were able to evaluate that. More about getting into places you were never supposed to be. It’s definitely a worry with double jump, glide, and fel rush.

Q: Is the level 70 account requirement server based or account based?

A: Server based, like the Death Knight was at the beginning. But maybe the restriction will be lifted in the future.

Q: Why do Demon Hunters have only two specs and will we see them have a third ranged spec?

A: When we discussed Demon Hunters we talked about a ranged spec but they’ve just been traditionally melee and fit with the lore and allowed us to focus on those two specs a lot more. If we had a ranged spec we’d end up taking things out of the other specs: eyebeam would be a ranged spec ability.

Q: What’s the process for designing core abilities and the other abilities? How do you approach dropping a brand new class into the game?

A: We can start by looking at other classes in the game. We’ve got to have our builders and our spenders. You start with that and you do a big brainstorm and come up with crazy ideas — then start to consider how to make that work in the game. Double Jump was like that. It was on the cutting table for a while, but we decided to let it live. Hopefully we won’t regret that. But it feels fun. We looked at the Warcraft Demon Hunter and Illidan.

Q: Will Demon Hunters have a skill gap that distinguishes the casual from the hardcore?

A: Because it’s a relatively simple class, it will probably be closer. But hardcore players will go to great lengths to eke out DPS, but obviously there will be a skill gap.

Q: Soul Barrier for Vengeance feels clunky and slow. Could it be taken off the global cooldown?

A: Taking it off the GCD is an easy solution but it’s not one we want to use lightly. We’ll look at other was if that’s a large scale consensus. Sometimes those “clunky” talents turn out to be really good.

Q: Blood Elf glaives are smaller than Night Elf Glaives. Any plans to change that?

A: Blood Elf glaives look big in their hands.

Q: When will they be playable?

A: I don’t know. I think when they’re ready. Which I believe is August 9 with the demon invasion event.

That’s it for today’s Q&A! The next Q&A will be coming after launch and there will be stuff at Gamescom you’ll want to keep an eye on.

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