Bladedancer Hunter Overview
When one thinks of the Hunters of Destiny, thus far we have associated them with powerful rifles, attacking from afar with their fabled Golden Gun and Double Jumping away with a smirk on their faces as their enemies lie dead before them. So it could come to some surprise to those who haven’t been watching the Hunters closely that there is a second subclass for the Hunter to choose which focuses on an entirely different playstyle; close range combat.
But does this even make sense? The Hunter is not as armored as the Titan, nor able to regenerate out of battle as quickly as the Warlock; why would close ranged combat even be an option for Hunters? Just because they aren’t armored doesn’t mean Hunter’s can’t adapt and be truly deadly foes up-close. It all comes down to how they handle their blade; hence the name Bladedancer. Or put more simply; mobile death machine of arc lightning energy that’ll make you curse every word under the sun when playing them in PvP or praising them to the High Heavens and back when teamed up in PvE.
Note: As before, some stuff will carry over from the previous Hunter article; if anything is expanded upon in a different manner then take notice of it.
As expected the Bladedancer Hunter is equipped with its own set of unique grenades, to use to tip the battles into their favor. Halo veterans will be happy to see a version of the plasma grenade also makes an appearance with the Bladedancer.
Flux Grenade: An explosive grenade which deals additional damage when attached to enemies.
Skip Grenade: A grenade which splits on impact, creating multiple projectiles which seek enemies.
Arcbolt Grenade: A grenade that chains bolts of lightning to nearby enemies.
Fans of the fabled plasma grenade “stick” will no doubt chose the Flux Grenade for its familiarity. There is something insanely satisfying about sticking an enemy and watching the fireworks ensue. The Skip Grenade will be an excellent finisher for those pesky opponents who manage to sneak away with a fraction of health remaining; or perhaps to initiate a combat encounter with a group of enemies – each are viable options. The Arcbolt Grenade will work well as an opener; dancing bolts of lightning across a group of enemies before charging in head first will be a welcome advantage.
Note: Same suggestions for Jump apply to the Bladerdancer and Gunslinger Hunter.
Movement is key in Destiny with the Hunter looking to be one the best equipped classes for movement. Verticality is going to play a big role in Destiny; more so than other Bungie games in the past.
Double Jump – Jump a second time after leaving the ground.
Better Control – Upgrades the Double Jump for better directional control while in the air.
Triple Jump – Upgrades the Double Jump with a third jump.
Higher Jump – Upgrades Double Jump for even greater height.
Looking over the options, it looks as though Jump will all be about a matter of preference and just how much control one can squeak out of the Better Control ability. There are going to be pros and cons to all these options, but the really interesting question is the relationship between “Triple Jump” and “Higher Jump”. Clearly one has to elevate the player higher than the other, and if the ability to control one’s Hunter in the air is same across the board (excluding Better Control), then the real question is what is the advantage between having three jumps versus two jumps with a greater height gain. Whichever produces a high gain in elevation is going to be the one everyone picks.
True to it’s name the Bladedancer comes equipped with a deadly Arc Blade that will dispatch foes with an efficient melee attack that might even make the mightiest Titan envious. By channeling the power of Arc into their blade the Bladerdancer becomes a mobile and deadly force.
Arc Blade: Charge your blade with Arc Light and consume your foes with lightning.
Showstopper: Press “RT/R2” during Arc Blade to damage nearby enemies.
Razor’s Edge: Press “RT/R2” during Arc Blade to unleash a destructive wave of energy that travels along the ground.
Vanish: Press “RT/R2” during Arc Blade to disappear from sight.
There is no real clear winner here in terms of choice. All are potent options and will allow the Bladerdancer to choose how they want to approach the combat situations. Both Showstopper and Razor’s Edge will give Guardians an extra pulse of damage which will be useful against those enemies that are just out of melee range and thinking they are safe. Vanish could present some excellent combat scenarios where the Hunter attacks and then “vanishes” from sight, only to show up later and melee another unsuspecting enemy.
As expected the Bladerdancer Hunter also comes equipped with a potent melee attack that offers some very untraditional bonuses to the Hunter. With an extended range to the melee strike it allows the Hunter to attack at distances further than one is used to; no doubt catching the uninitiated off guard.
Blink Strike: A powerful melee attack with extended range.
Backstab: Hitting an enemy from behind with Blink Strike causes significantly more damage.
Escape Artist: Hitting an enemy with Blink Strike grants brief invisibility.
Fast Twitch: Reduces the cooldown of Blink Strike.
Backstab is something any Bungie gamer is going to be used too. The precedent of more damage being dealt from a melee attack from behind is nothing new; but it is a welcome addition. Couple this with Vanish and there might be some excellent opportunities to catch enemies unaware. Escape Artist is absolutely a combat perk – the brief invisibility could easily turn a bad combat situation into a victory if used almost recklessly. Fast Twitch is nothing new and is not nearly as exciting as the other choices though.
Each Guardian has access to three different attributes; Armor, Recovery and Agility — with the Hunter having most of its “points” stacked in Agility making them the most agile Guardian. The three “Paths” that Hunters will have access to will allow the player to further augment their Hunter’s mobility or maybe make up in some areas where the Hunter is lacking when compared to the Titan or Warlock.
Path Forgotten – Training focused on toughness and speed.
Path Forbidden – Training focused on battle recovery and speed.
Path Unknown – Training focused on battle recovery and toughness.
It’s all about preference. Hunters at base line will have faster movement speed and a higher jump than the Titan and Warlock classes. The question the player has to ask, is if they want to continue to push their Hunter down that path or add in a little extra survivability? What seems to push the Hunter down the “long range, mobile, damage dealing” class path the most is “Path Forbidden”. By giving the Hunter the extra mobility and reducing the cool down of recovering health, the Hunter can get in and out of bad situations with as little down time as possible. Bladerdancer Hunters will most likely benefit from boosts to speed or recovery. The ability to get in and out of melee range and being able to reenter combat quickly will be essential to the Bladerdancer.
Like all other Guardians, the later choices in the Bladedancer talent tree allow for the customization to begin to kick in; what will distinguish one Bladedancer from the other. The first three choices the Bladedancer gets to choose from all offer a unique perk that will push the Bladedancer down a certain combat path.
Fleet Footed: Increases maximum sprint speed and extends slide distance.
Quick Draw: Weapons are ready immediately after dealing damage with any knife attack.
Shadowjack: Increases the duration of invisibility effects.
Mobility is key with Hunters. They need to be agile, quick and able to get in and out of combat situations with ease. Fleet Footed helps in this regard. With being able to sprint faster and slide longer the Hunter who chooses this perk will without a doubt be a very hard target to eliminate. Quick Draw allows for the instant use of firearms after using a knife attack. Notice it doesn’t say a kill with a knife but simply a knife attack. Guardians will be able to combo melee with quick firearms damage (say the shotgun perhaps) for close range combos. Shadowjack is all about invisibility; increasing the duration of all of those effects, which when coupled with Escape Artist or Vanish will give Bladedancers an edge in combat situations.
MORE ATTRIBUTE BOOSTS
Like stated before; Guardians have access to Armor, Recovery and Agility. The Hunter has most of its point stacked in Agility. The next three choices offer a little more drastic stat modifications than those from before.
Way of the Drifter – Training focused on all attributes.
Way of the Fearless – Training focused on toughness at all costs.
Way of the Nomad – Training focused on maximum battle recovery.
Nothing too exciting here. It all comes down to does one want a well rounded stats boost; a boost to armor alone; or a boost that allows for the shortest down time in between fights. The choices here will most likely be based on the choices made earlier. It would make sense to continue down a certain attribute path than opposed to making oneself a jack-of-all trades. A Hunter is about speed and mobility; so augmenting those would make the most sense; especially if “”Path Forbidden” was chosen earlier. “Way of the Nomad” would compliment this nicely.
SECOND ROUND OF COMBAT BUFFS
The best of the best once again. These choices for combat perks not only finalize the play style of the Bladedancer but also give him or her access to some game changers; one being particularly fun to use but no about annoying to be fighting against.
Encore: Killing an enemy with Arc Blade extends its duration.
Stalker: Gain invisibility after crouching in place for a short time.
Hungering Blade: Kills with Arc Blade and Blink Strike immediately regenerate health.
Let’s get this right out of the way. Stalker is going to be a campers dream ability. It won’t be surprising if this is the go-to choice for snipers. Imagine being able to sit undetected on the outskirts of a map and fire off a few rounds before ducking away and finding a new vantage point to begin sniping again. It sounds great on paper; but might be annoying to fight against. Encore is a solid choice; focusing on extending the duration of the Arc Blade with successive kills. Under the control of the right hands this will lead to some amazing combos. Hungering Blade is probably the least exciting of the bunch – health regeneration is cool but when a Hunter (without the toughest of armor) is in the fray, I can’t see this regenerating health compensating against the fire power of several enemy Guardians OR a legion of Darkness foes.
The big choice. Just how confident are we with our build?
Illumination – Seal this Subclass, locking previous choices.
When it comes to this choice; yes lock in one of the two subclasses. However, locking in BOTH subclasses I would not advise. A player still needs to have some form of flexibility when it comes to gameplay. This is especially true when it comes to raiding. Choice is important so always keep one subclass unlocked so that you can modify a build if need be.
So that is the Bladedancer Hunter; a melee focus subclass to a very range heavy class over all. It certainly is different and lends to a new type of play style – one some will hate and others will excel at. Whether or not the invisibility will need to be toned down is uncertain. In the right hands it will sway matches and might be frustrating. Bungie has done a good job differentiating the two known Hunter subclasses thus far.
Few more days till we get to test it out!