- 10% physical damage reduction was moved from Demon Spikes to passive, making us more sturdy when Demon Spikes isn’t active. We also got a stamina buff to help manage burst.
- Metamorphosis was greatly buffed, and now offers an armor increase and guaranteed Soul Fragments from Shear.
- Many talents got rebalanced. Expect to re-evaluate most talent tiers, especially tier 7 (Last Resort, Demonic Infusion, Soul Barrier).
- Item level should be more important in deciding whether items, especially rings and necklaces, are an upgrade.
- Many lackluster legendaries got buffed.
Demonic Wards (tanking passive): Now reduces all damage taken by 10%, instead of just magic, and increases stamina by 55%, up from 45%, in addition to its former effects.
Demon Spikes: Physical damage reduction decreased by 10%.
These two changes go hand-in-hand. Basically, 10% of our physical damage reduction was moved from our active mitigation to passive. Overall this is a buff, and should result in smoothing our damage intake, especially in conjunction with that stamina buff. Demon hunters should be less worried about those times when Demon Spikes isn’t active.
Metamorphosis is now a proper physical damage reduction cooldown, in addition to increasing health and pain generation. You also turn into a Soul Fragment machine, generating one every time you Shear/Sever (empowered Shear). And yes, this all comes into play with Fueled by Pain.
When you are under the effects of Metamorphosis, you should prioritize Shear and Soul Cleave, but keep track of your Soul Fragments so that you don’t go over the cap of 5.
Abyssal Strike: Buffed. Decreases cooldown of Infernal Strike by 8 seconds, up from 5.
Agonizing Flames: Nerfed. Increases Immolation Aura damage by 20%, down from 30%
Razor Spikes: Buffed. Increases physical damage by 30%, up from 20%.
The value of these three talents has more-or-less equalized in my eyes, and the choice depends on how you want to move around the battlefield just as much as how you want to deal AoE damage. Abyssal Strike should be favored for sustained AoE and large scale movement. Agonizing Flames is the easiest to maximize, and will by my top choice when I need constant movement or simplification. Razor Spikes is a strong choice for single target damage when combined with Fracture, and burst AoE when used with Soul Cleave.
Fel Eruption: Cooldown decreased to 30 seconds, down from 35 seconds.
This buff is a little bigger than it initially appears because it syncs up the cooldown with Fiery Brand, which gives it a big damage boost when you have the artifact trait Fiery Demise. That makes it good choice for damage on unstunnable targets. Felblade is still the more defensive pick, and Flame Crash the pick for AoE.
Fracture: Pain cost reduced to 20, down from 40.
Fracture is your best bet for single target damage in this tier. The cheaper soul fragments are nice too, so it’s not a complete defensive loss, but damage is why you take this talent.
Sigil of Chains: Cooldown increased to 1.5 min, up from 1 min. Range of effect increased to 10 yards, up from 8.
The cooldown increase is just a straight nerf, but the increase to the range of effect is a welcome buff.
Spirit Bomb: Leech increased to 20%, duration increased to 20 seconds, and damage changed to fire.
Blade Turning: On parry increases pain from Shear by 70%, up from 50%.
Spirit Bomb should finally be competitive as a choice for sustained healing and sustained aoe damage. Blade Turning remains the solid simplicity choice, though it doesn’t complete with the other two choices when you use them regularly. You’ll still want Fel Devastation for burst healing and damage.
Last Resort: Cooldown increased to 8 minutes, up from 3 minutes.
Demonic Infusion: Replaces Nether Bond. Draw from the power of the Twisting Nether to instantly activate and then refill your charges of Demon Spikes. Generates 60 Pain.
Soul Barrier: Absorb shield (both the sustained and burst portion of it) increased. Cooldown increased to 30 seconds, up from 20.
All cheat death mechanics were nerfed, so the change to Last Resort isn’t surprising. My recommend use for it remains the same: use it for simplicity or when you’re regularly in situations where you die to recoverable mistakes.
Demonic Infusion fills a niche we dearly needed, which is recovering from using all of our Demon Spikes. Pick this talent when you’re facing physical damage, or if you prefer higher uptime on Demon Spikes. I’m looking forward to playing with this talent in dungeons.
Soul Barrier, one of my favorite talents, but an acquired taste, will see similar usage as before. A strong choice against magical damage, especially damage over time. With the increased cooldown, it doesn’t work so well as a filler between Demon Spikes, but it should be stronger against burst damage than before.
This change initially went unnoticed, but it’s actually a big buff that allows Fiery Brand to spread to all targets in a group, even very large groups. It also means that you don’t have to worry about losing the effect of the talent when you accidentally put Fiery Brand on a low health target. Like before, take Burning Alive when facing multiple hard-hitting enemies at once, or for AoE dps.
- All agility classes lost 5% crit but gained a damage/healing boost to compensate.
- Secondary stats changes: In general, item level should be more important in deciding whether something is an upgrade, especially in rings and necklaces. Go here for more details.
- New legendaries
- Archimonde’s Hatred Reborn: Gain an absorb shield for 30% of your maximum health for 10 sec. When the shield is consumed or expires, 75% of the damage absorbed is dealt to nearby enemies, split evenly.
- Spirit of the Darkness Flame: Your Fiery Brand now heals you for 100% of the damage done and each enemy hit by your Sigil of Flame increases the instant damage of your next Fiery Brand by 20%, stacking up to 15 times.
- Buffed legendaries
- Runemaster’s Pauldrons: Metamorphosis resets the remaining cooldown on all your Sigils and Empower Wards, and grants you 1 charge of Demon Spikes.
- Cinidaria, the Symbiote: Your attacks cause an additional 30% damage to enemies above 90% health and heal you for 100% of the damage done.
- Sephuz’s Secret: Successfully applying a loss of control effect to or interrupting, or dispelling any target an enemy grants you 70% increased movement speed and 25% Haste for 10 sec. This effect may occur once every 30 sec.
- Prydaz, Xavaric’s Magnum Opus: Every 30 sec, gain an absorb shield for 25% (15% if tank) of your maximum health for 30 sec. Also now has Haste in addition to Critical Strike and Mastery.