Unaddressed issues with Havoc

For Havoc, the Shadowlands changes are either disappointing, underwhelming, or not good to many of us. A lot of issues have gone unaddressed. Here i’m going to outline most of them, feel free to add more.


Havoc’s rotation is very simple. That’s fine, and it’s a reason many of us enjoy the spec. But many feel that a bit more baseline complexity would be nice to have, especially now that the spec has had time to develop.

Idk what could be done to address this, but i would suggest some sort of new ability that utilizes our resource in an interesting way. Preferably i’d like for this ability to be very hard hitting, as Havoc lacks that big hard hitting ability that many other specs have.


Havoc has one of the longest DPS cooldowns in the game. Having meta on a 4 minute cooldown is ridiculous, and creates some very annoying issues for the spec despite the duration of meta being so long in failed an attempt to offset it’s long cooldown. The main issues are:

  • Most raid fights with important burn phases are designed with the average DPS cooldown availability in mind (Every 3 minutes) so not having our cooldown for those phases cripples the usefulness of the spec.

  • Some dungeons are designed with bosses that are very close to each other, resulting in there not being enough time between boss fights for meta to come off cooldown in time to be used on the next boss fight, resulting in Havoc suffering and being less useful for an important part of the dungeon run.

  • Having frequent access to powerful cooldowns for periods of increased pressure on the enemy is extremely important in PvP, especially rated arenas. So, many havoc players are essentially forced into running the Demonic Origins PvP talent to cover the extreme disadvantage of meta’s long 4 minute cooldown. This locks down a talent choice (or essence choice rn) in most situations and results in less choice for the player.

I think reducing the cooldown of meta to the standard 3 minutes would largely fix these issues for the spec, and would definitely even be worth a decrease in the duration of meta for the sake of balance.
(A 3 minute cooldown with a 20 or 25 second duration is far better than 4 minutes with a 30 second duration)


Whilst it is not uncommon for versatility to have no interaction with a spec’s design, both Critical strike and Mastery have no meaningful interaction with the design of Havoc.

Crit is good for us atm, but it simply acts as a damage increase. In legion it was tied to the chance for Chaos Strike to refund fury. Whilst i do not believe the legion interaction to be necessary (it had issues) I think the stat should have some interaction.

I suggest having our critical strikes from chaos strike have a 30 or 50% chance to reduce the cooldown of Blade dance by a very small amount. This would give the stat more value and give Chaos Strike some purpose in the AoE rotation besides just filling time until the next Eye beam or Blade dance.

Mastery not only suffers from a lack of interaction with the design of the spec, but also from a complete lack of power and poor scaling potential.

I suggest a simple but ideally effective change. Have mastery gradually increase the chance Chaos Strike refunds fury (in addition to it’s current chance). This increase would be very very very small, but it would give the stat some very clear and noticeable value to the spec in a more interactive way. This also slightly fixes how poorly the stat scales.


The design philosophy of the Havoc talent tree is actually quite good. The left talent is always something that is passive and doesn’t change the rotation much. The middle talent is always something that is passive but changes the rotation noticeably or changes core interactions of the spec’s abilities. The final talent in the row is always something active that changes the rotation noticeably.

That design philosophy is great, and it’s not the issue with the talent tree. The issue is the talents themselves. Some talents are just way too strong, way too weak, way too bland, or feel so core to how the spec plays now that it feels bad not taking them (Demonic and Firstblood).

The Bland talents:

  • Insatiable Hunger: Both bad and uninteresting. It has never been chosen and will never be chosen .
  • Desperate Instincts: Far too weak compared to the other options, and undoubtedly less useful. It’s also way too passive for the middle row and can actually be detrimental to the player as it removes some decision making when it comes to using their defensive cooldown. I suggest replacing it with something that interacts with Blur in an interesting and useful way, or with a weaker version of the Cover of Darkness PvP talent.
  • Cycle of Hatred: Not only is this talent both bad and uninteresting, it also creates issues for the spec. Having RNG based cooldown reduction is never good and obstructs the player’s ability to manage their cooldowns effectively, thus removing a large element of skill. Additionally, the cooldown reduction it provides is extremely weak, and made even less effective because of how long the cooldown of meta is.

I suggest that these talents be removed from the talent tree and replaced with much more useful talents. These talents would’t need to be super interesting given their position in their rows, but something more interesting would be a massive improvement.

The Weak talents:

  • Fel Mastery: This is an interesting talent, but unfortunately it suffers from just being too weak to compete with the other options, especially since Trail of Ruin can also provide a noticeable Single Target dps increase despite being a talent on a tier focused on AoE. Bringing a mobility spell into the AoE rotation is a good idea, but it also comes with the inherent weakness of asking the player to then choose between having mobility and having more output, unlike the other choices.
  • Dark Slash: Getting changed in Shadowlands so i’ll reserve judgment for now, though initial reports aren’t great.
  • Unleashed Power: This isn’t entirely uninteresting or useless, but tends to be much less useful for improving Havoc’s overall utility compared to the other options, both of which have very valuable applications.
  • Momentum: (addressed in “The Demonic Problem”)
  • Nemesis: (addressed in “The Demonic Problem”)

At the moment it looks like we’re very very likely to be using the exact same talent build in Shadowlands as we currently do in patch 8.3 of BfA, with even less choice. That is not a good thing.

The DEMONIC problem:

The biggest issue with both Momentum and Nemesis isn’t their design, though they do have issues, it’s that Demonic is not only extremely good but is also so core to how Havoc plays.

I wrote another post about it here: Demonic in Shadowlands

What i want to focus on here is the fact that Demonic works in every situation the player could ever find themselves in, whilst the others do not.

Momentum isn’t a bad talent. It’s actually kind of interesting. But choosing it doesn’t really work out well in a lot of situations.
-In PvP Fel rush is very important for mobility, something crucial to Havoc
-In the open world players would much rather be able to freely use Fel Rush for mobility.
-Fel Rush just doesn’t do that much damage in Single Target situations, so players feel like they’ve wasted a potential dps action in order to buff themselves with a short term buff.
-For boss fights with a lot of movement, Fel Rush is better used for mobility instead of buffing the player’s damage.
-In some dungeons, trash packs can sometimes be so close that it may be dangerous to fel rush through them, thus causing the player to either have to hold back or waste time re-positioning themselves so that they can fel rush safely without pulling other packs.

Nemesis has the potential to be fairly interesting, but it still has to compete with Demonic. Nemesis does have some pretty interesting applications in Dungeons, whilst questing, and especially in Battlegrounds. However, in all of those situations it’s almost always better to have Demonic instead because of what that talent provides (More Damage and Healing much more frequently). Plus, the talent is just too weak in it’s current form. A 20% increase for 1 minute every 2 minutes sounds nice, but when you actually sit down and figure out how much more valuable it is to have more access to your Meta form abilities, that 20% just isn’t enough. Additionally, any value the talent could have when used in an interesting way is stunted by the the duration not refreshing when you kill the marked enemy. Yeah you now have 20% increased damage on Humanoids, great, but you only have about 20 seconds left of the buff you got from a 2 MINUTE COOLDOWN.

Overall, Demonic is just too strong in that row. I suggest either reworking these talents, buffing them by a lot, or fulfilling the wishes of many Havoc players by making Demonic baseline and replacing the talent with something these two can compete with.


Finally, i wanted to talk about firstblood and it’s issues. Alot of us have grown used to having this talent and enjoy using Blade Dance in our Single Target rotations. Many of us want to see this talent baseline, but i believe that due to the current design of Havoc that would be problematic.

The issue is the rotations. Each dps spec has 2 rotations, Single Target and AoE. These rotations are never exactly the same. There is always at least 1 different ability that is either added (like bladeflurry) or replaces something (like chain lightning).

The same is true for Havoc, but only without Firstblood.
-Single Target Rotation: Demon’s bite, Chaos Strike, Eye Beam.
-AoE Rotation: Demon’s bite, Chaos Strike, Blade dance, Eye beam.

Spot the difference? It’s Blade Dance. JUST Blade Dance.

Here’s the rotations with Firstblood (talented or even made baseline)
-ST Rotation: Demon’s bite, Chaos strike, Blade Dance, Eye Beam.
-AoE Rotation: Demon’s bite, Chaos Strike, Blade Dance, Eye Beam.

Spot the difference? No, you didn’t. There is no difference. And that’s the problem. THAT is why we can’t have First blood’s effect baseline. It’s fine as a talent in the eyes of the developers because that change in the rotation is made by the player and is not baseline.

But many of us want it baseline. Many of us would argue that the spec NEEDS Firstblood baseline. But the lack of any other difference between our ST and AoE rotations is preventing that change from being appealing to the developers.

So, i suggest a sort of big change, that if implemented would allow the developers to make Firstblood baseline without compromising their design goal of having the Single target and AoE rotations be different baseline.

I suggest adding a new passive to Havoc that would bring Fel Mastery into the baseline AoE rotation. Call it “Chaotic Flurry” or wtv, but it would ideally read like:
“Hitting 3 or more targets with Fel Rush causes chaos strike to hit up to 5 targets in front of you for the next 5 seconds”

This would turn the AoE Rotation into: Demon’s bite, Chaos Strike, Fel Rush, Blade Dance, Eye Beam. (which is different from the single target rotation if Firstblood is made baseline)

Now, this would have similar issues to those i mentioned with Fel Mastery and Momentum, but as a baseline interaction within the spec those issues are less vulnerable to those problems as the player doesn’t have to give something else up in order to to have that functionality, like with talents. I’m not a dev, i’m not good at this, it’s just a quick idea.

This might be dumb, my idea could very likely suck. BUT YOU GET THE POINT. The baseline AoE rotation has to be different from the single target rotation in some way other than Blade Dance in order for Firstblood to realistically be made baseline. It doesn’t matter how that is done, as long as it is done. You could even bring Throw Glaive into the rotation somehow.

My idea is just a combination of that primary intention and my personal desire for Chaos strike to not be completely useless in AoE situations as it is now. (Plus i like Fel Rushing through groups of enemies, feels dope)


That’s all of the very important things i really wanted to talk about. Feel free to criticize me, add constructive comments, or add additional thoughts on issues you believe the spec has that i didn’t mention. Thank you for reading.


Well done. I was just wondering what Xaedys would say and I looked down and he is scribbling his notes now. lol


Solid. They could also just bake Demonic Origins in baseline, ie halve both the CD and the duration. That puts it on level with most other DPS cooldowns, both in cooldown and in duration.

This would also make First Blood even more mandatory. Frankly, I don’t see much need for every stat to be “interactive”. Most specs do not have any direct crit interaction. That I can think of, the following specs have some form of mechanical crit interaction:

  • Frost DK - Killing Machine
  • Feral druid - Primal Fury
  • Beast Mastery hunter - Wild Call
  • Fire - Hot Streak
  • Assassination - Seal Fate
  • Destruction - Extra shard fragment generation on Incinerate or Immolate crit.

So, that’s 6 of the 24 DPS specs that have mechanical interaction with crit. 8 if you consider the bonus crit damage that Outlaw gets on Between the Eyes and Elemental gets on all crits as “mechanical interaction”, but I don’t really (especially Elemental’s, since it doesn’t affect gameplay at all, just stat weights).

Crit is fine as is. It increases our damage without any real interaction, just like it does for most DPS spec.

Eh, that would screw with our fury economy too much. That’s one of the reasons they went to a fixed refund chance in BfA, because a scaling one meant that by the end of the expansion, we were basically just spamming Chaos Strike non-stop. Having a fixed average ratio between Demon’s Bite and Chaos Strike is, imo, healthy for the spec.

The only issue with our mastery is one of tuning. Yes, it’s a relatively boring mastery, but given that our kit is pretty solidly split between chaos and other sources, mastery passively shifts our rotational focus towards those chaos sources over the course of an expansion (just like it shifts it towards frost damage for Frost DKs, Shadow damage for Unholy DKs, etc). This can affect talent priorities, and would have if it wasn’t so grotesquely undertuned for the entirety of BfA.

And really, that’s the fault of First Blood. That talent alone shifts around 20% more of our damage to physical, which drastically reduces the benefits of mastery. Blizzard couldn’t buff mastery much without causing a huge swing in the other direction as Dark Slash would take over that spot.

This is one of the reasons I want to see First Blood either baseline or gone (and Fel Blade baseline to fill that rotational niche instead). It removes the drastic damage source shift that comes from selecting that talent.

Personally, my preferred approach to this is to simply unlink the auto-pop portion from the cooldown version:

Desperate Instincts
Blur down reduces damage taken by an additional 15%.

Additionally, when you fall below 35% health, you gain the Blur effect for 4 seconds without triggering the cooldown.  This may occur once every 90 seconds.

This talent, and its SL iteration, needs to die. It’s literally just a worse version of Demonic.

This one is fine, imo. It grants better access to the AoE stun, and synergizes with Demonic Appetite by making it easier to use Chaos Nova for free soul spawns. It’s also worth noting that it’s taken by close to 2/3rds of raiding DHs.

Would also add that in a number of boss fights, especially at the mythic level, player positioning is critical. As an example, Momentum just flat out would not work on fights like Fetid and Vectis mythic, because you had to be in very specific positions in order to not wipe the raid.

Very little about Nemesis is interesting. It’s a low damage increase, it has a long CD, and a crazy long duration. It’s basically just a passive damage increase with a 50% uptime, and the potential for it to turn off early if your target dies and you have varying mob types in the instance (which is most of the time).

Chaos Blades (the fixed increase version, not the mastery-scaling one) would be a far better talent in this position.



You literally just got done pointing out the issues with using Fel Rush for damage. Why are you suggesting a change that would force it on every single Havoc player in AoE?

No, the proper solution is to find another ability to fill Blade Dance’s niche in single target. That’s why I’ve been suggesting Fel Blade move baseline (and have its damage changed to Chaos). The leap from it can be removed or added as a talent/PvP talent (along with other bonuses on such a talent, obviously), if it’s a balance problem.

But giving us a hard-hitting single target cooldown that has an RNG reset would solve two issues at once. It would remove the need for First Blood to liven up the baseline rotation, and it would provide some actual reactive RNG to the baseline rotation. This would also solve the issue with the AoE rotation, since First Blood could be removed entirely and Blade Dance would become a proper AoE button.


So here is my attempt to fix DPS increase play style talents (Last Row). But mainly to make Nemesis a more interesting ability.


  • Demonic


  1. Nemesis (Passive): Each successful Chaos Strike Increases damage you inflict against the creature type by 5% for 10 sec. (Stacks up to 3). Upon targets death, you gain an additional 15% damage increase against that creature type for 20 sec.
  2. Momentum (Movement play style): Keep the same but maybe add an additional charge of Fel Rush.
  3. Chaos Blades (Cool Down Play Style): 7.3 Post Nerf version.


Upon targets death, you gain an additional 15% damage increase against that creature type for 20 sec.

This part needs some work. Issue is lets say you use Eye Beam to burst down a group of different creature types. Well what buff would you get? So maybe it needs to apply a debuff to the target instead of a buff to yourself. But that makes target switching annoying. So maybe you have to use Chaos Strike as a finishing blow to get the buff for the kill.
But then again, for having a passive damage buff. Maybe its best to restrict it only working as a debuff so upon target switching, you take a damage loss for a bit.

So like this.

  1. Nemesis (Passive): Chaos Strike applies a debuff to your target Increasing damage you inflict against it by 3% for 5 sec. (Stacks up to 5). Upon targets death, you gain additional damage done equal to the targets debuff against that creature type for 15 sec.

Edit: #2

I think the version above will make it so you can ramp up to constant 15% damage increase but it will quickly drop off when you have to target swap and move around. But you can quickly reapply stacks on a soon to be killed target then you can go back to primary target with up to 15% damage bonus instantly (assuming same creature type).

So it has the potential to give a nice steady DPS increase up time with some thought involved but because of the time factors involved, you would rarely see 15% debuff with 15% buff on same creature type. If you do, it will quickly fade off in a few sec. Thus not making this OP.

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Hmm. I’m actually kinda fine with that version of Nemesis. Honestly, even as a buff, it works, because you can just make them independent. If you Chaos Strike a humanoid and a beast, and then both die, you get two buffs, one for humanoids and one for beasts.

That said, it’s probably too simple in that current design. The duration should be shorter (say 4-6s, to encourage proper Chaos Strike weaving), and you should only get the buff if the target dies while they have 3 stacks on them. Also, the buff version should stack with the stacking version, to actually reward usage. Might also be worth increasing the stacks to 5 instead of 3, just to avoid it being too automatic.

  • Agreed in shorting the duration as it seems too forgiving.
  • If it goes the debuff route, I think you should always get a buff equal to what was on the target and for that creature type. So you can have multiple buffs of varying % damage increases.
  • I think 5 stacks is too much. That’s 200 fury worth. It will take time to build up that much just to get your buff/debuff applied before you meta and take full advantage of damage. No I disagree and think 3 is just right in terms of ramp up time before it gets annoying.

Fair point. And to be honest, the debuff route is probably more reasonable, as otherwise there’s not a ton of difference between the on-death buff and the stacking one.

So a debuff that increases your damage done to the target per stack, and if they die, a buff that increases your damage done to that type of enemy.

200 Fury doesn’t take us long. SimC has us generating a smidge north of 21 fury per second, averaged across the fight, and I only included DA, Chaos Strike refund, Immo Aura, and Demon’s Bite (ie. not the fury from Disrupt or Thirsting Blades that the sims have).

This jives with logs. For example, https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/hJAGdn47Pf6CqXcN#fight=15&type=resources&spell=117 (which is the highest ranking US or EU log for Havoc on Shad. I exluded CN because English spell names). That fight was 203s long, and the two DHs generated 18.48 and 20.57 fury per second, averaged across the entire fight.

So 200 Fury is still only about a 10s ramp time, maybe 15s if you’re just starting the fight. I think that’s perfectly reasonable for a talent that’s 1) completely passive, and 2) has the additional bonus of the mob-type buff.

Well it feels long on paper to me. But if in practice feels fine then I have no issue.

Oh, also worth noting, it’s actually only an average cost of 160, not 200. Chaos Strike’s refund chance averages to a 20% cost savings, reducing the average cost to 32.

Dear god you are opinionated af. I appreciate your response, but dude if people literally expect that you’ll respond to every dang forums post maybe you spend too much time here.

Thanks for wasting paragraphs dissecting my ideas for solutions to theses issues, but like i said I’M NOT A DEV, so they where just casual suggestions. You seemed to completely miss my point with the last suggestion.

Wth kind of reaction is this? Xaedys commented and gave insightful responses to your suggestions. Do you expect to be sung praises by every single suggestion of yours? Have you forgotten you are posting this in a forum where other people are going to refute your ideas if they feel like it instead of agreeing with 100% of them?

I often do the same in hopes for a civil argument with the poster, or even rarely post some myself and hope for comments on my threads too. This kind of reaction is totally unwarranted if we wish to have any sort of meaningful discussion on what we wish the devs change for our spec, etc.

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And some of those suggestions are bad, for the reasons I outlined above. If your ego can’t handle criticism of your ideas, maybe a public forum isn’t the best place for you, eh?

Ideas shouldn’t be lauded simply for existing. If an idea is bad, I’mma call it bad. This isn’t one of your safe spaces where everyone gets an equal-sized trophy just for participating.

I mean, you literally asked in your final paragraph for what I did:

Would you have preferred I just responded “naw, these suck”?

Edit: also, I just reread through my initial response. I spent like half the post agreeing with you, or suggesting simple refinements to your suggestions. Yeesh.


Did you want everyone to just pat you on the head and say good boy?

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