Today, we kick of our ‘just for fun’ match up between Warcraft’s twelve classes, starting with the two that are already defined as ‘Heroes’ before you even get your hands on them: Death Knights and Demon Hunters.
The Death Knight was Warcraft’s first ‘Hero’ Class and were introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion: this gave players a unique means by which they could understand the motivation of Arthas himself, and the manner by which he came to lead the armies of Undead in Northrend. With a break from tradition, a character started at L55, at an instanced area in the Plaguelands and once an introductory sequence was completed (which taught the fundamentals of the class plus their specific skill of Runeforging weaponry) the World would open to players as normal. At the time, the introduction of this class significantly divided the Community: many considered DK’s as overly simplified, and resented the lack of leveling required to max out a character.
Looking back on the fuss, it all seems quite polite and restrained in comparison with what passes for outrage these days… the DK remains an immensely popular class, but I think it is fair to say that they are difficult to play well. They’ve also been subjected to some of the most brutal nerfs of any class in the game, due no doubt in part to the ease at which one could learn to play one. However, to do that task well, as is the case with most classes, takes considerable finesse. Some of the best tanks I have encountered in game are DK’s, and their DPS was, for many expansions, frankly indispensable during my raiding adventures. This group of characters were truly a product of the Lich King expansion, and remain one of its most enduring legacies.
In the same way, Demon Hunters are part an parcel an extension of the Legion storyline: using lore from the Burning Crusade, one of the franchise’s major villains has become an uneasy ally to Khadgar and the various inhabitants of the Broken Isles, and is now directly involved in the fate of Azeroth itself. Again you have a character starting ahead of the levelling curve (in this case, L98) but crucially not then needing to complete existing content before heading onto the Expansion to which they belong. Again, you can either tank or DPS as a DH, again drawing comparison with the older Hero class.
The unbound joy and enthusiasm that certain people gained from the announcement of DH’s was unsurprising: the twin glaive silhouette has become iconic in the game’s history, and to play such a class has given many people a new lease of life in Azeroth. Being a leather wearer is not a hindrance to effective tanking either, though it is in their DPS iteration that I see the majority of this class playing in World Quests. Undoubtedly the second outing for the Hero Class has been a success, and the lore that backs this progression up is as based in history as the Death Knights.
Now’s your chance to decide which is the better class and why, plus add your voice to the discussion which we’ll break down in a post at the weekend.