Diablo 3 – Demon Hunter Guide
The Demon Hunter is one of three ranged classes in Diablo 3, using longbows and crossbows combined with boosted critical hit and dodge chance to mow down enemies as quickly as possible. The Demon Hunter has, at this point, one of the highest damage ceilings of all the classes, topping out thus far at 595,000 dps. However, reaching a skill plateau like that is not to be the point of this article, it will instead be focusing on the ascent to level 60 and offer advice that helps give the player the easiest time reaching that point. The Demon Hunter uses a combination of offensive and defensive skills to stay out of the reach of enemies while dealing them massive damage. The advancement of the Demon Hunter as these skills become unlocked will be examined, as well as the proper methods of gearing your character.
At level 60 there are a wide variety of builds available to the Demon Hunter and personal preference can play a far larger role than with the melee classes, which generally split into a few well working builds that are adopted and tinkered with by the majority of the community.
As with the other two classes that have been covered thus far, the most important step to take at the start of the game for quick and effective leveling is to tinker with Monster Power. Monster Power is an adjustable setting that increases the damage and health of the monsters encountered in the game while providing significant experience and magic find/gold find increases. Monster Power allows the player to level more quickly and experience a more significant challenge.
Demon Hunter skills: The Demon Hunter has a wide variety of offensive and defensive skills that can be combined in a wide variety of ways throughout the game. However, the Demon Hunter’s incredibly high dps ceiling allows for a large group of defensive skills to ensure survivability while still managing to do high damage with a few select offensive ones. Because the Demon Hunter has such a diverse skill pool and can do well with
Skill #1: Hungering Arrow is one of four primary Hatred generating skills, Hatred being a resource for the Demon Hunter that works the same way that Fury does for the Barbarian. Hungering Arrow is the first of the primary skills that you unlock, being available immediately from level 1, and provides a good set of runes that can be steadily upgraded as the player levels up. For all of normal mode, the runes really don’t matter, the player can pick whichever applies best to their needs, but as the game goes on, different combinations become feasible options, especially as damage increases.
Skill #2: Rapid Fire is another skill that becomes available at a low level, and it is a skill that uses Hatred as its resource. It offers a high, constant stream of damage, and although its Hatred cost can be a little steep if used indiscriminately, it can offer a good spiking skill for mowing down mobs or taking a few chunks out of a champion, elite, or boss monster. Runes are not a serious concern with this skill with the rune choice relating to what each individual player is looking for.
Skill #3: Caltrops is a defensive trap that can be used to slow groups of enemies coming out of chokepoints and do significant damage to them. Caltrops has runes that can increase, slow, or add damage, so as is the case with most Demon Hunter skills, the runes you choose apply to your playing style and what you need. Caltrops, and other defensive skills, use the other type of Demon Hunter resource: Discipline. Discipline recharges far more slowly than Hatred but is a necessary resource for a well-rounded build.
Skill #4: Evasive Fire is a neat skill that does good damage and can generate Hatred, but it receives an extra perk if there are enemies within a certain distance of the player: you automatically back flip away from the enemy at the cost of 4 Discipline. The Discipline cost is small, the damage is decent, and as with other Demon Hunter skills, the runes depend on the individual’s playing style.
Skill #5: Smoke Screen is a temporary invulnerability skill that uses Discipline but has no cooldown, making it an effective failsafe in life and death situations. The Discipline cost is not exceptionally high, and later in the game via set bonuses one can increase their Discipline regeneration and have access to this skill more frequently.
Skill #6: Elemental Arrow is an effective damage-dealing skill that uses Hatred and can be used to pierce enemies and do damage to each one. Primarily, it is useful for eliminating mobs as quickly as possible, taking out the enemies closest to you while doing damage to those behind them.
Passive Skills: Night Stalker uses the Demon Hunter’s high critical hit chance to restore Discipline, and with a high enough critical hit chance, this passive skill can restore Discipline very quickly and effectively. Archery offers increased damage, critical hit damage, or critical hit chance depending on the weapon you use, and as with much of the Demon Hunter, the weapon you use depends on what the player is looking for. If damage is low, a two-handed bow will work best, if critical hit damage is low, a two-handed crossbow is best, and if a boosted critical hit chance is needed, a one-handed crossbow is best. Sharpshooter is a very useful skill that boosts your critical hit chance by 3% every second, with the bonus resetting every time you get a critical hit.
Demon Hunter Gear: The Demon Hunter focuses far more on offensive than defensive, and the gap between the two is larger than it is with offensive builds for the melee classes. So long as sufficient damage can be meted out, defense really doesn’t matter. The primary needs of an offensive Demon Hunter at level 60, when gear really starts to matter, are essentially the same as those of a lower-level character. In order, what should be focused on as the game progress is dexterity, critical hit chance/attack speed, critical hit damage, vitality. There are other bonuses that are a part of set weapons and gear but the bonuses they give depend on what the player is looking for.
Putting it all together: Using the build that I have laid out as you progress through the game should make the advancement through the game as easy as possible. Even more so than with the other classes, variability is a large part of the Demon Hunter, and any skills that don’t seem to fit with your play style can be easily changed to fit.
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