Role Play: Diving into Demon Hunter lore
BlizzCon 2015 may be over, but we came out of it with a mountain of information regarding the upcoming Legion expansion. Pre-ordering the expansion not only nets you a free level 100 boost, but you get early access to the Demon Hunter class as well. While this is admittedly great for players deciding whether or not they’d like to switch their main class of choice going into the next expansion, it also has the bonus of allowing roleplayers to create and establish new characters before the next expansion begins.
In addition, we got some hands-on experience with the Demon Hunter starting experience while at BlizzCon, which revealed a little more about Demon Hunter lore, and what the class is all about. So let’s take another look at Demon Hunter lore and the class itself, and see what kind of character possibilities await. Needless to say, this post will have some spoilers for upcoming Legion content, so if you’re avoiding spoilers, turn away now!
Demon Hunters start their journey essentially stranded on the shattered remains of Mardum. You begin as a member of the Illidari — players that leveled through Burning Crusade may remember the camps of Illidari training on the terraces just outside the Black Temple. You’ve been sent to this world to retrieve an artifact, a Sargerite Keystone that Sargeras used to open portals to countless demon worlds. Illidan needs this artifact as part of his plans to defeat the Burning Legion.
You, on the other hand, need to retrieve this artifact not only to help Illidan, but because it’s your only means of escaping the world. And you’re kind of keen on making it out alive.
So just what is Mardum? It was a prison planet — in fact, it was the prison planet, the one that Sargeras used to hold all the vanquished demons he fought while he was still serving as Champion of the Pantheon, before he went mad. After he went mad, he returned to Mardum and shattered it, setting every single last demon free — the beginning of what would eventually become the Burning Legion.
That said, your character immediately has one major priority in mind — getting their hands on that keystone. It’s a little more difficult than it sounds, because there’s a fleet of demons in between you and the keystone, and they aren’t really keen on just handing the thing over. Along the way you’ll begin to learn new abilities and learn more about what exactly being a Demon Hunter is all about.
Your abilities aren’t just learned. They’re absorbed from the demons you’ve slain. In a way, you are essentially becoming that which you most seek to vanquish. It’s a little like Warlocks, in that Warlocks originally began practicing their magics in the hopes that understanding the Burning Legion’s weapons could later be used against them. Except Warlocks don’t actually seek to become demons themselves, they seek to enslave them instead.
You, on the other hand, have sacrificed everything you ever were, everything you are in pursuit of the means to destroy the Burning Legion, including your sight. Demon Hunters ritually blind themselves, trading ordinary sight for the ability to sense and detect demons and other threats. In order to defeat the Burning Legion, they have concluded that they must, to small some degree, become one with it.
Needless to say, this kind of sacrifice isn’t one that is easily understood or appreciated by the general public. There’s a fine line that Demon Hunters are walking, and one wrong step will take them from mastering their abilities to being wholly consumed by them. It’s a frightening line to tread, and few understand that Demon Hunters are walking that line because they choose to do so — not out of any kind of lust for power, but out of the desire to see the Burning Legion eradicated. If they were after power solely for its own sake, they’d just up and join the Burning Legion themselves.
This theme of sacrifice and the delicate line between mastery and chaos is heavily prevalent in Demon Hunter gameplay — and it means that Demon Hunter characters for the most part aren’t going to be sunshine and roses. With all that they’ve given up, how could they? If this sounds vaguely morose and melancholy, well…that’s what Demon Hunters appear to be all about. They love the world on which they live, they love life, existence as it stands. They love both so much that they are willing to sacrifice everything that they are, just to ensure that the Legion doesn’t destroy it all.
And in that there is also sorrow, because it also means that to a degree, they’ll never be able to be “normal” again. Those outside the Demon Hunter class look at these Elves and see people that are apparently hungry for demonic power — people that are willingly seeking it out. They see Elves that appear to be consumed and driven by demonic influence, even taking on the appearance of demons. And they’re afraid, disgusted, and horrified.
So you have a few choices going into Legion. You can create a character using the toolkit that you’re presented with, play as an Illidari who fights their way across the ruins of Mardum and triumphantly returns to the Black Temple only to find Illidan vanquished, and a long prison sentence awaiting them. That character has a lot of depth — they’re likely to be bitter, likely to be angry, and yet despite it all, willing to step up and fight the Burning Legion.
Or you can play a character who is none of those things, creating a character who, in the face of the demonic invasion that arises before Legion‘s launch, chooses to undertake that sacrifice themselves in order to become more. Alternatively, you can always take an existing character of any class, have them set down their role and start a new journey. As a roleplayer, this means ignoring the starting experience entirely, and writing one of your own. But at this point in World of Warcraft‘s lifetime, we’ve been through enough expansions with enough new races and new classes that this should be old hat to you by now.
Regardless of the path you choose, the story of the Demon Hunter — and the story you craft for your character — is one that ties heavily into everything that the next expansion is all about. Because of this, Legion is pretty much an endless wellspring of potential for roleplayers that want to dive into the new class, and it’ll give you every opportunity in the world to fully establish your character and root their story into the world before the expansion’s end. We still don’t know if there’s a way to truly defeat the Burning Legion, after all…and as long as there are demons to pursue, there will be those with the strength, the fortitude, and the selflessness needed to combat them.
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