There seems to be a perpetual debate in different WoW social circles (Blizzard Forums, private forums, game chat, etc) about what the next class is that will be released. Aside from a plethora of slight variations of WoW classes that exist in other games with different names, the most common that come up tend to be the Bard or the Demon Hunter. I’ll get to the Bard in a later post. Demon hunters have been present in the Warcraft universe since Warcraft III, starting with Illidan Stormrage, and have continued to exist into World of Warcraft in areas of the game that have heavy demon infestations (Outlands, Felwood, etc). So, there is a mild case that can be made for adding them as a class since they do exist in Warcraft lore. Why is it then that they’ll never exist as a playable class?
Lore & Game Mechanic
Quite often there are exceptions made in game lore to allow for more compelling or functional game play. Sometimes the game mechanics are overlayed on a lore concept to keep things consistent: Tauren “sunwalkers” draw their power from the sun god and not the Light yet in game are called and function with the identical spell set as paladins because it wouldn’t make sense to make new yet identical spells in game just to allow for the lore to match. Blizzard wanted Tauren paladins and had a decent lore reason for a similar class yet devoting the resources to it along with the confusion among players as to the differences weren’t worth making them truly sunwalkers. In the case with demon hunters, however, there are too many separations from lore that would have to be made to make them playable:
- They do not wear any armor. WoW demon hunters are not like Diablo 3 ones that run around in awesome looking leather. Demon hunters in WoW are typically topless (sometimes even females) and would have no use for most of the in-game armor slots. Having a class that didn’t need gear wouldn’t make sense, yet having a demon hunter that needed gear would be a lot less class flavor.
- They only use Warglaives. This is a very specific weapon type (long curved blades that go both directions from the centrally located handle). Is it really plausible that Blizzard would have a class limited to one weapon drop type entirely? Hunters at least use bows and guns (technically can equip some melee weapons, but, that’s not ideal). The in-game warglaive players were able to get before were classified as swords. So, if Blizzard allowed demon hunters to use all swords that would still create a huge loss of class flavor. Demon hunters running around in full armor with random swords? Hardly even cool anymore
- Demon hunters devote their lives to killing demons and crushing demonic influence. Demon hunters would not be in Pandaria at all, for example. They have no reason (it’s even completely contrary to the commitments they’ve made) to be running around slaying sha, mantids, mogu, monkeys, etc. A demon hunter that is focusing on other things is simple not a demon hunter. They would also have very little concern for faction conflict. Seeing as most demon hunters are Night Elf (therefore alliance) but are still rejected by their own people, they’d have little reason to choose a side like the Pandaren do. The factions don’t matter, they just want and need to kill demons. Other classes, even near-evil warlocks that are adventuring for their own ends, would have reason to participate in the WoW storyline – but not demon hunters.
There are a few other, just logistical reasons that demon hunters will not be an in-game class.
- New players might confuse demon hunters and hunters. Sure, this may sound like a silly reason, but Blizzard has been very specific in their moves to make sure that new players can easily get acquainted with the game and find themselves in the area most appealing to them. Why would someone click “hunter” when they can click “demon hunter”. That would be similar to choosing “paladin” over “more-awesome-paladin” if it were an option.
- Most of the abilities that a demon hunter would have are already in-game. Most of their spell and magic based moves have been given to warlocks already. If anything, they’d be given half of the warlocks non-summing related spells that might be renamed or recolored.
- They’d only be a DPS spec. Admittedly, it is technically possible that Blizzard might add a new class that could only fill the damage dealing role, but it seems incredibly unlikely. Demon hunters want to kill demons. They sacrifice everything about themselves and their lives to gain power to kill demons. It would not make sense for demon hunters to be tanks whose purpose is to protect the group by keeping the monsters beating on it’s face (monsters that would, for the most part, garner little interest from the demon hunter anyway). It would be completely ridiculous for a healing demon hunter.
I really, just cannot see it. A demon hunter, in the end, would be a half-naked melee lock that was grossly off the path from the original lore and history of the class. Demon hunters are very cool and could even be fun to play, but somethings just don’t make sense to be in the game. Back in Warcraft III, Blizzard did not allow the Burning Legion to be a playable race because there was no way to keep their flavor and make them fit (balanced) in the game world. Maybe, some day, we can let this issue die and get back to ideas that may actually happen.