Categorizing Vengeance Talents and Traits

Looking through Vengeance demon hunter talents and artifact traits, you might notice that quite a few interact with each other. For instance, Charred Warblades heals you for 15% of the fire damage you deal, and there are many skills, talents, and traits that increase fire damage further. Let’s just take a look at those.

These are the vengeance demon hunter’s baseline fire abilities:

Any talents that deal with the above abilities or add new fire abilities can contribute to healing:

That’s a lot of skills and passives that now increase your healing, which adds a whole new dimension to talent choices. And fire damage isn’t the only category with complex interactions. Here are a couple more:

The point here is that almost every choice, either via artifact relics (where you get three slots to choose what ranked traits you want to boost) or talents, is much deeper than it looks on the surface. Improving your sigils can lead to increased healing or an AoE taunt; using Demon Spikes could increase your pain generation with one talent, dps with another; anything that touches Immolation Aura also might effect healing (through fire damage), aoe dps, pain generation, movement (through Agonizing Flames). Using Soul Cleave can result in a 3% damage reduction or even a short metamorphosis.

By the way, it’s important to note the difference in customizability between talents and artifact traits. Talents are free to swap, so it’s encouraged and expected that we change them around frequently. We will have access to all our talents as soon as we reach max level.

In contrast, we can’t expect to have all artifact traits filled out until a month or two into max level content (subject to change), and changing the distribution of points at the very least requires you to go back to your class base (possibly more than that). In addition to those points, there are three relic slots that allow you to raise the max rank of some traits by one, but it’s a tough choice. You can choose to go full out and have 6/6 of one trait, or to spread the love to three different traits.

Generally we have to assume that talents are easy to change depending on the situation, while artifact traits are set in stone but we’ll have most of them in some form.

Categorizing Talents

This led me down the road of categorizing the talents in each tier with all the interactions they have with other aspects of the class. Like I wrote about Guide Writing and Cookie Cutter Builds, I want to work towards categorizing talents by their situational uses in a succinct manner.

Guide Writing and Cookie Cutter Builds

Anyway, this is starting to get complex. But here is my first go of categorizing vengeance talents, minus stuff that will come with experience like “easiest to use”.

I see a lot of wide variation here, but also some overlap within tier. Overlapping categories in a single tier risks becoming a math problem. For example, Bathe in Flame and Blade Turning both increase pain generation, the former indirectly through increasing Immolation Aura use and the latter directly. But Bathe in Flame also has all these other nice goodies that could easily overshadow Blade Turning. I’d prefer that talents on each row deal with different things so that the choice between them is situational.

  • A bear

    What concerns me is that this spec seems to have everything. Cc in nearly every tier, store and single target dps i muzrzy tiers. How spill other tanks stack up against this?

    • A bear

      Store should read aoe

    • Sunnier

      Warriors had a lot of dps talents this expansion, too, but that didn’t translate to them having the best tank dps. The whole package matters, not just talents, and it doesn’t make much sense to say one tank has whatever type of talents while another doesn’t. It just means they have more customization in that area.

      As for weaknesses, Demon Hunters are currently (whether it’s intended or not) incredibly weak against magic damage. They have no active mitigation to reduce it, only big cooldowns and skills to heal up after it. Similar to death knights, they’re just not great at reducing damage up front at all, and compensate by healing a ton. DH AoE is very strong but it can’t be up all the time — all their abilities have medium cooldowns that are longer than their duration. That can be compensated for, but it’s no Breath of Fire and Keg Smash. I could go on, but that’s just another blog post waiting to happen.