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:
- Tier 1: Abyssal Strike
- Tier 2: Agonizing Flames
- Tier 3: Felblade, Etched in Blood, Burning Alive
- Tier 5: Bathe in Flame
- Tier 6: Concentrated Sigils
- Artifact Traits
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:
- Sigils ( Flame, Silence, Chains, Sigil of Misery )
- Etched in Blood
- Quickened Sigils
- Concentrated Sigils
- Scorched Ground
- Charred Warblades
- Notes: Anything that increases the uptime of Sigil of Flame also increases healing.
- Demon Spikes
- Razor Spikes
- Defensive Spikes
- Notes: Demon Spikes increases parry, which has it’s own modifiers (see below).
- Soul Cleave
- Soul Barrier
- Feast of Souls
- Devour Souls
- Fueled by Pain
- Notes: Soul Cleave will activate any abilities that proc off of consuming a Soul Fragment. The healing of Soul Cleave in influenced by the many talents/traits that generate Soul Fragments (see below).
- Soul Fragments
- Pain Tolerance
- Bathe in Flame
- Blade Turning
- Notes: Anything that reduces the cooldown of our pain generators: Immolation Aura and Shear, improves pain generation.
- Abyssal Strike
- Agonizing Flames
- Notes: With Agonizing Flames, anything that influences Immolation Aura (see below) might also influence movement.
- Immolation Aura
- Fiery Brand
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.
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.
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”.
- Tier 1
- Abyssal Strike: Movement, Fire Damage (healing)
- Pain Tolerance: Pain generation
- Fracture: Physical Damage, healing
- Tier 2
- Agonizing Flames: Movement, Fire Damage (healing), AoE dps
- Sigil of Misery: AoE CC, situational utility
- Fel Eruption: Single target CC
- Tier 3
- Felblade: movement, fire damage (healing), pain generation, single target dps
- Etched in Blood: sigils (aoe dps, AoE CC, fire damage)
- Burning Alive: aoe dps, strong but slow aoe defense, fire damage
- Tier 4
- Soul Barrier: absorbing
- Quickened Sigils: sigils (aoe dps, aoe cc, fire damage)
- Soul Rending: healing
- Tier 5
- Bathe in Flame: aoe dps, pain generation, fire damage (healing), [movement with Agonizing Flames ]
- Blade Turning: pain generation
- Feast of Souls: healing
- Tier 6
- Hellgate: situational utility
- Concentrated Sigils: sigils (aoe dps, aoe cc, fire damage)
- Razor Spikes: physical dps, cc
- Tier 7
- Nether Bond: situational defense cooldown
- Last Resort: situational defense cooldown
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.