I wish WOW's new demon hunters didn't have to be elves
Demon hunters seem pretty great. Having mucked around with World of Warcraft's second hero class at this year's BlizzCon, I came away impressed by the sheer amount of mobility they're set to offer. We're talking double jumps, dashes and the ability to glide through the air using a pair of big ol' demon wings that sprout from your character's back. Being primarily a Player vs. Player kind of... player, this all sounds like good stuff, but unfortunately I'm just not really that into elves.
As it stands right now, if you're planning on making the switch to demon hunter come next summer, you'll be restricted to creating either a night elf as part of the Alliance, or a blood elf if you tend to side with the Horde. Whilst both races have proven popular within the WOW community so far, I've always found our pointy-eared friends a little serious for my taste and it sounds like I'm not entirely alone.
"For people who are really not big fans of elves: we've heard that feedback." executive producer J. Allen Brack told me. "I don't think we've heard it quite as loud until we got to BlizzCon."
So why make that restriction in the first place? Blizzard's first hero class, the death knight, is available to any race other than the Pandaren (who arrived a couple of expansions too late) and that did help counter one obvious problem with Wrath of the Lich King's launch. When almost every player is now a death knight called 'Lichkingarthas', it's nice to see more than a couple of races being represented.
"Historically, a lot of the lore has been demon hunters as elves," counters Brack. "So that was one of the things we talked about in terms of things that we wanted to stay really true to."
And he's right, as you'd probably expect a 10-year Blizzard veteran to be when it comes to matters of Warcraft lore. Aside from the big man, Illidan Stormrage, the demon hunters we've encountered so far have always been other night elves that have made a similarly awful sacrifice, or blood elves that were more recently trained by Illidan himself. There hasn't yet been an example of a non-elf demon hunter, but likewise, we're yet to discover any explanation as to why this couldn't be possible.
It's also not unlike Blizzard to show some flexibility here, as we saw with the introduction of the new class/race combinations during the Cataclysm expansion. Once you've allowed for Tauren paladins, you've set a precedent for all sorts of silliness. The Warcraft lore is important to an awful lot of players, but when a significant portion of the world is suddenly overrun with elves carrying the same obnoxiously large twin blades, that might be a problem too. World of Warcraft benefits enormously from the feeling that each player is unique - it requires variation.
So, will Blizzard stick to its guns and restrict the demon hunter class to elves? Or will it relax its iron lore grip and let other races dabble in the dark arts?
"We're listening to [feedback]," says Brack. "We were very deliberate in making this an elf-only class to really fit and have a really tight kit. But it's interesting to hear the feedback from the fans, for sure."
I've decided to take that as a 'maybe'.