Of all the classes, few are as unique as the Demon Hunters. Historically and primarily Night Elves, Demon Hunters sacrifice themselves to fight back the Burning Legion. In ages past, Demon Hunters underwent rites of passage based on how Illidan Stormrage became the first Demon Hunter. While most of the Night Elf society believed that this was unacceptable, a few felt that he had gained the only power that could truly protect their race.
The Demon Hunters are dedicated to destroying demons. The first Demon Hunter was Illidan Stormrage. To fight Demons, all Demon Hunters absorb the powers of some demons to augment their own abilities. As such, all Demon Hunters are capable of casting spells and fighting in melee combat. The more a Demon Hunter traffics with Demons, however, the more demonic he will become. In time, their form may become more like a Demon then their natural form. Though many Demon Hunters are being trained by Illidan at the Black Temple in Shadowmoon Valley, those who do not serve the Illidari have sworn themselves to the Cenarion Circle and can be found guarding their more important outposts.
One of the first of the voluntary Demon Hunters was Jarod Shadowsong, brother to Maiev. After serving in a position of authority within the Night Elf community for many years, he began to wonder if the Burning Legion might return despite Nordrassil holding back the power of the second Well. To this end, he used his sister's position as Illidan's guard to speak to the most powerful Night Elf mage who remained. Illidan, the only remaining Night Elf who had truly seen the might of the Legion, confirmed Jarod's fears; that magic was part of the world, and the Legion could return whether or not the Well was suppressed.
Illidan explained that he could see as the Legion sees, and that while the magic the Legion normally consumed was held back, it was still leaking out, and the divine types of magic were similar enough to Arcane magic to feed the Legion's hunger. His eyes, bestowed by Sargeras himself, could tell everything about the magic properties of everything in front of him. From Illidan's accounts, Jarod began to understand parts of the process.
Over time, he began to wonder if it would be possible to gain such power himself. He had felt Illidan's might first-hand in the past, and thought to himself that allowing some of his people to gain this power would prove not only effective but essential against the inevitable second invasion.
However, this caused an inner conflict. To bring even one Demon into the world could have disastrous effects, making his efforts completely futile. He would have to be watched to be sure, but if anyone knew what he attempted he would fail immediately. Even so, having no knowledge of the arcane, Jarod kept concluding that he must succeed. To this end he tried to convince members of the Highborne that there could be ways to monitor certain rituals, fail-safes that could be put in place to prevent another Invasion. Over time Dath'Remar Sunstrider began to agree, eventually putting into motion the events leading to the Banishment of the Highborne.
When the Highborne were banished, Jarod followed, determined to gain the power to defeat the Legion once and for all. When he reached the Tirisfal Glades, he found that few of the Highborne would listen to his reasoning, as most were lured more by the promise of free reign of magic in their homeland. Those that did listen gathered with him, and together they opened small portals, with one creating it and the others holding it back. Their first attempts went according to plan, though none know if it was the Legion's plan or simple luck; the Demon Hunters themselves do not believe their own power kept the full forces of Sargeras from breaking out before they did.
At first only weak demons emerged, and then they did so one at a time, the portal they travelled through closing soon afterwards. They were then dissected. Soon, however, the Demon Hunters found themselves confronted by a Doom Guard. The massive demon struck some of them down immediately. Without all their number containing the portal, it soon grew unstable. With quick thinking, Jarod struck down the demon with his sword. He, being the only one in the group who was not used to using magic as a weapon, took the Demon off-guard. This event gave the Hunters two gifts; one, they learnt that though they intended to take the magical power of the demons, they needed to supress their own to vanish from the sight of the demons; and two, they gained their first victim.
Over time, each of the Demon Hunters learnt to hold back their inherent magic, keeping demons from sensing them until they were extremely close. They began to target Doom Guard and individual Eredar, interrogating some and taking power from all. Gradually, they gained knowledge of Eredun and demonic rituals. As time passed, their numbers dwindled, as some died and others fell into the service of the Legion. Eventually, however, they managed to perfect the rites to become true Demon Hunters. Chaining the Demons they gained their powers from, they burned out their own eyes and used borrowed magic to drain all the power from their victims. Then, with blades fashioned in the shape of the legendary Blades of Azzinoth, they ended the Demon's life and gained from them their demonic sight. It took each Hunter several weeks to recover, presuming they ever did. Many succumbed to the taint and had to be killed.
When all that had followed Jarod had either achieved their goal or were lost, the remnants permanently removed themselves from the Highborne. The majority returned to Kalimdor, where they re-introduced themselves to Night Elf society as survivors who had headed East. Their time away from the World Tree had allowed them to age, though only slightly, but nonetheless noticeably enough to disguise them. For the most part, they avoided those from their past lives.
Several of the Demon Hunters tried to integrate fully into the new society, but almost inevitably decided to remove themselves, not feeling truly comfortable. It was not util the Second Invasion that the Demon Hunters found purpose in their lives. They began saving small villages, slaying demons before their taint could become too great to handle. Soon, however, their presence was revealed to high-ranked Druids and Priestesses. Desperate for help, they were employed to protect otherwise undefended regions. As the Battle of Hyjal drew near, the presence of demons elsewhere dwindled, but remained significant enough to warrant the Hunter's abscence from the climax of the war.
It was in the aftermath that the Demon Hunters would become involved with the one they had emulated: Illidan Stormrage, filled with the powers of the Legion, and newly sworn to serve Kil'Jaedan. This encounter changed the path of the Demon Hunters; where once they hoped to gain Illidan's power, now most of them feared it. They could see his power with their enhanced vision, and most were either made sick or disturbed by it. Others fell sway to it, and swore to follow him. He would later call upon them after he fled to Outland, bolstering his ranks and securing his position as Lord of Outland.
Those that did not swear themselves to Illidan remained in Kalimdor, fighting alongside the Night Elves.
Never public figures, the Demon Hunters hid themselves from most prying eyes until fairly recently, when portals to the Emerald Dream were opened. At the request of Remulos, the Demon Hunters have journeyed into the Dream to help Cenarius, Malfurion, and the Druids of the Cenarion Order hold back the Nightmare. Jarod, now going solely by the name of 'Shadowsong', is their leader in the Dream.
Demon Hunters are renowned for their abilities in combat. Much like Warlocks, the Demon Hunters cast a number of Shadow and Fire spells to help them defeat their foes, but unlike the Warlocks, they are relient on their melee attacks. Except on rare occasions, a Demon Hunter will have a pair of blades modelled after the Blades of Azzinoth when actively hunting Demons or when in service in strongholds of the Cenarion Circle. Those that choose to follow their own path, however, may weild a number of weapons. Primarily, Demon Hunters weild Swords and occasionally Staves, but many learn to also use Daggers and Polearms, depending on whether or not they rely on their spells or their combat skills to survive.
- Finese-oriented Demon Hunters are known for tearing through their foes, regardless of who they may be up against. When engaging in Melee combat, the Demon Hunter hits hard and fast. Agility is key for the Finese-oriented Demon Hunter, as it enables them to make faster attacks and dodge hits.
- Those who study Demonology are proficient casters. Unlike Warlocks however, the Demon Hunter uses his knowledge of Demons primarily to hunt and eliminate them. Enhancements to their powers gained through Demon power can be greatly augmented, and those who delve deeply enough into the dark arts may find themselves transformed.
- Very few Demon Hunters are known for their Force, but those that are often send foes running. Completely opposite to the more graceful combat style of Finese-based Demon Hunters, the Force-based Demon Hunters use their overwhelming strength to knock down foes. Utilizing heavy attacks that leave enemies reeling, they abandon all defence in the hopes of striking down their foes. Most fearsome of all is their ability to hold a normally Two-Handed Weapon in a single hand, allowing them to hit harder than anyone else alive.
All races have the potential to become Demon Hunters. However, in order to create a Tauren Demon Hunter the player must first unlock the Demon Hunter Hero Class and then complete a series of quests in the Caverns of Time: Agamaggar.
Demon Hunters have access to a number of different types of weapons. As a whole, they prefer bladed weapons that can be held in one hand, allowing them to strike many powerful blows in a short period of time. Under the tutelage of Illidan, Demon Hunters in training begin with Warglaives, but those under Jarod are started off with special One-Handed Staves for mainly training purposes. Options include:
- Swords (One- and Two-Handed)
- Staves (One- and Two-Handed)
- Axe (Two-Handed)
- Fist Weapons
The weapon a Demon Hunter uses will be affected by which path they choose. The classic Demon Hunter uses Warglaives to fight Demons, but those with special training may use other weapons as well. Most noticably, Two-Handed Weapons cannot be weilded normally by Demon Hunters. Only those who spend Talent Points in the Force tree can do so, and have the advantadge of treating them as One-Hand Weapons.
Certain abilities require certain weapons. Counterstrike, for example, can only be used if the Demon Hunter is holding a One-Handed Sword when they successfully evade an attack. Likewise, Break Strike requires a Two-Handed weapon.
Talents & Abilities
Demon Hunters are focused fighters, devoted solely to crushing their enemy. Their three trees (Finese, Demonology, and Force) are based primarily on defeating the enemy while simultaneously taking the least amount of damage from foes.
Talents in the Finese tree, such as Fast Reflexes, can passively increase dodge chance (2% per rank for 5 ranks, up to 10%). Others can also allow the Demon Hunter to strike quickly, such as Counterstrike (Must be weilding a One-Handed Sword, and can only be used when you evade an attack. Strikes quickly and stuns the target. Another talent a Finese-oriented Demon Hunter may find useful is Improved Reflexes, which also increases the Demon Hunter's chance to Parry by 10% (Only able to get it when 5 points are spent in Fast Reflexes). An excellent opening move for Demon Hunters is their Shadow Charge ability, which allows them to close the distance between themselves and their target in the blink of an eye.
Demonology talents mostly boost the various abilities that the Demon Hunter gains via their absorption of demonic energies. The abilities Mana Burn (removes mana from the target and does damage equal to the 'burned' mana) and Immolate (surrounds the Demon Hunter, constantly draining his mana to burn all nearby foes) can be made more effective with the talents Demon Burn (restores 5% of the Damange and Mana done to the foe to the Demon Hunter per rank, 3 ranks for up to 15% returned) and Burning Spirit (increase the range of Immolate's damage). Perhaps the most frightening talent in the Demonology tree is the Demon Hunter's famous final power: Metamorphosis, which turns the Demon Hunter into a full-fledged Demon. In this form, their main attack is a ranged attack with Splash damage, more health, and in-combat health regeneration. In this form Intellect is increased, but the Demon Hunter loses all access to Finese and Force-based Talents and Abilities (with certain exceptions, such as Fast Reflexes). The Demon Hunter cannot Parry in this form, but gains extra Shadow and Fire resist.
Force, for Demon Hunters, is all about hitting big. The advatadge of this is high burst damage at the cost of extremely high Mana Cost. Force Talents make it easier for the Demon Hunter to use these abilities by reducing Mana Cost and improving their effects. Break Strike is a powerful attack that can remove a Buff from the target and, with Improved Break Strike, can also reduce the Armor of the target. Overwhelming Force, a 5-point Talent, can increase your damage when Blocked by 4% per point, up to 20%. The Talent Heavy Weapons is required to weild Two-Handed Weapons, and a pre-requisite for the talents to weild such a weapon in one hand, then to Dual Weild them. The Improved Armor talent also allows the Demon Hunter to wear Leather with one point and Mail with two., enabling him to surive a bit longer.
Demon Hunters also gain increased damage against Demons (passive) and may track demons (active). However, they also have another ability which allows them to identify enemies. Mana Sense shows enemies with Mana on the mini-map, regardless of Stealth, Invisibility, or anti-Tracking effects. It will not, however, show a Rogue who is using Stealth.