Officers’ Quarters: Deciding who can Demon Hunter
Legion‘s systems patch features the first time that a new class became available prior to the release of its expansion. Players who preordered Legion are now able to create their own Demon Hunters and learn the ins and outs of the two specs. If my experience this past week is anything to go by, just about everybody has taken Blizzard’s newest class design out for a test drive. The Burning Legion isn’t the real invasion — it’s the Illidari.
Some players have tried out the Demon Hunter and discovered it wasn’t for them. Maybe they didn’t like the build/spend system, Havoc’s lack of on-demand self-healing, or the unusual Momentum-based playstyle. Others have fallen in love with the DH from their very first double-jump/glide combo.
That can create a big problem for guilds if too many raiders want to reroll as a DH main. Should you place a limit on DH raiders? How should you decide who can reroll and what criteria should you use? Let’s discuss!
Raid groups usually want two primary tanks and then one or two players at least with a tanking off-spec. Those tanking off-specs will be easier to come by in one sense, now, with all specs available to all classes at the touch of a button. Building up the Artifact weapons for those off-specs, however, won’t be quite so easy. So it’s important to think about who’s going to choose which tank spec, even among your off-spec tanks.
Ideally you want diversity in your available tank specs, because specific tanks can sometimes make certain encounter mechanics far easier to manage, such as Protection Paladins bubbling off debuffs, Brewmasters smoothing out burst damage, etc. So in a perfect world, you definitely don’t want both of your primary tanks to reroll Vengeance if you can help it.
Vengeance brings a lot to the table, however, especially with their Sigil spells such as Sigil of Chains, so having one primary DH tank could be an asset to the team. Regardless, you’ll want at least one DH who can comfortably tank — even if it’s not their main spec — for those encounters where Vengeance offers a substantial upgrade over other specs. More than one starts to limit your flexibility in the tank role.
Too many Illidans spoil the group
Havoc Demon Hunters bring some interesting abilities to a raid group. Their interrupt is perhaps the best in the game. The ability to gain half a bar’s worth of resources on a successful interrupt makes them the de facto interrupters on a raid team (along with their Vengeance cousins). Havoc also offers both excellent sustained and burst damage as well as strong target switching, especially given their crazy-good mobility. But they have weaknesses, too, and they obviously lack some of the bonuses and utility that other specs bring, such as Stampeding Roar, Blessings, etc. Too much Havoc can be a problem.
Of course, you also want a good mix of ranged and melee DPS specs. If the demon invasions are a precursor of Legion‘s raid bosses, you’ll probably want more ranged DPS than melee (again). That’s another concern in an expansion that gave us the third straight new melee DPS class and also turned a ranged spec (Survival) into a melee spec. Many thought that Demon Hunters would have a second DPS spec for ranged damage just because the game so desperately needs a new ranged spec, but it didn’t happen.
A full Mythic raid team can probably handle up to three Illidans, but a small Normal/Heroic group can only incorporate one or two at most before it starts to become an issue.
Overall it’s best to let your players decide among themselves and reach compromises. They can usually figure out who really wants to reroll and who is just curious about the possibility. Raiders often have two or three specs they’re deciding among, and they’re willing to go with the spec no one else wants to play.
But if too many of your team members aren’t willing to let go of the blindfold, the officers will have to get involved. Some guilds will opt for the easiest, fairest system: choose a number of available DH slots (which will depend on the size of your team) and then have players roll for them. For social raiding guilds that may be the best solution.
If your guild is more progression-oriented, however, random selection may end up hurting the optimization of your team. It’s better if the officers take a more proactive role in deciding. Here are some questions you should consider when deciding whom to dub for DH:
- Does the player stick around for an entire expansion or are they one of the first to bail when the content drought hits? Players who keep raiding no matter the state of the game are rare and precious. You should seek to keep them happy whenever it won’t hurt the team overall.
- Has the player ever mained a melee DPS or tanking spec before? Make sure they’ve actually tried out some PUG raids, if your guild can’t incorporate their DH into your own runs. They need to see what the Demon Hunter is like in a raid setting instead of just questing/invasion gameplay.
- Is the switch going to throw off the roles in the team? A rogue or monk switching to DH doesn’t have nearly the same impact as a healer. Make sure you have the switcher’s former role covered before giving the green light.
- Will there be enough ranged DPS? Having a melee-skewed team can really hurt progression against certain bosses. Mythic Kormrok is a perfect example.
For any type of raiding guild, you can also try to “bribe” a player into choosing a non-DH class. For example, say that an Enhancement Shaman hates off-spec healing, but they’re sometimes asked to do it when the raid is light on healers for a given night. The Shaman wants to reroll a Demon Hunter because then they can’t be asked to heal. You could promise that you’ll stop asking them to heal if they stick with Enhancement instead of switching to DH. Note that you’ll have to stay the course on that, even when you’re desperate for healing, if you want your team to take such promises seriously in the future…
Another complication can occur if an officer wants to reroll to a DH, but so do too many regular members. You don’t want to show blatant favoritism by choosing the officer over anyone else, but at the same time, it’s a way to reward that officer for the time and effort they’ve expended to help the guild. If you do choose the officer, make sure you can justify it by addressing the questions above. Then communicate those reasons to the guild. If an officer gets to go DH “just because,” it’ll leave a fel taste in your raiders’ mouths.
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