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Please Note: This build is done at first glance. I have studied every ability the Demon Hunter has, and I have made this based on my preference. Many things can change from now until the release, and so this guide may be subject to change.
Update: Blizzard has updated the Demon Hunter Resource System. This means the DH build is changing. Check back in a bit for the new build and the new guide.
Think of the DH as the Hunter in WoW or a mix of the Amazon with the Assassin from Diablo II. They are both squishy heroes who rely on range to deal the max amount of damage. If your gear is DPS heavy, this build will keep your enemies at a distance.
My build is based a little more on survivability while having a comfortable amount of increased damage and CC.
Hungering Arrow (Piercing Arrow) : This is your main attack, it's a guiding arrow from the Diablo II amazon that deals 115% Weapon Damage. With the Piercing Arrow rune, your chance of pierce is increased from 60% to 95%. Pierce will direct the arrow towards another target if there is one nearby. If no other enemy is close enough, the arrow will simply return towards the same enemy. Whether or not this effect is repeatable is unknown to me at this time. Having more pierce will certainly multiply your damage when hit by the arrow multiple times. When you are running out of Hatred, you'll mostly concentrate on this skill as well as Entangling Shot to build up your Hatred.
Impale (Grievous Wound) : an arrow that deals 325% Weapon Damage. On top of that, Grievous Wounds adds 500% Weapon Damage When you Crit, which goes hand in hand with Sharpshooter.
Smoke Screen (Displacement) : This is your evasive ability. Smoke Screen grants you 2 second invisibility to which I prefer 55% speed increase over cost reduction or a minimal amount of damage. Try to run to an area he won't expect you to appear, such as behind him.
Shadow Power (Blood Moon): This ability will be used to save you from death, or at least make you last just long enough to finish off your enemy. You gain 45% health every time you're hit for 10 seconds. On top of that, it's nice retaliation because of the +50% attack speed increase.
Marked For Death (Death Toll): Marked For Death is an important skill for any Demon Hunter looking to deal that extra damage that could send the enemy running. It costs 6 Discipline, lasts 30 seconds and increases damage output by 20%. On top of that, it permits the Demon Hunter to mark which target should go down first in any PvP situation as well as 10% Life Leech to you and your allies thanks to the Death Toll rune.
Entangling Shot (Heavy Burden): Shoots an arrow that slows your enemies 70% for 9 seconds and deals 100% Weapon Damage. This ability will be extremely useful when you'll be PvPing with a melee partner, he won't need to chase your target around. If you're dueling solo, You'll need the extra CC to keep your distances while attacking from afar. This skill is now a resource generator.
Although the active skills rely a lot on CC and survivability, the passive abilities is where the actual DPS lies without having to do much.
Thrill of the Hunt : A 3 Second Stun every 10 seconds. This ability will harass your enemy as you back off and deal massive damage while they are stunned. Run around while they chase after you, and repeat after the 10 second cooldown.
Archery : Hungering Arrow is now a Hatred Generator. This being said, Fundamentals is no longer a useful passive to get, otherwise losing a considerable amount of DPS unless you get Archery. This increases various things according to which weapon you're using.
That being said, A crossbow is much more worthwhile than hand Xbows or Bows. The Sharpshooter ability removes the need for more Crit chance, and a 10% increase is pretty small. The Crossbow will deal a lot more damage when used correctly, such as the Impale + Sharpshooter combo.
Sharpshooter : If I read correctly, you gain 3% chance to critically hit every second. Once this happens, it resets back to 1 second. For example:
1s : 3% (No Crit)
2s: 6% (No Crit)
3s: 9% (Lets say you Crit at this point)
This passive permits you to spec your gear stats in something ELSE than Crit chance. It complements almost perfectly your Impale Skill. Try your best to time your Impale with your Sharpshooter ability.
Edited by Bostoncreme on 9/26/2011 12:12 PM PDT
The Rotation will require you to time your abilities correctly and very circumstantial. If you harass your enemy enough or they play defensively, you will force them to back away and use their defensive spells early on.
If they play aggressively, you'll be forced to make sure there is distance between you and your target.
Your Skill priority goes as follows:
Marked For Death
At the start of any fight or whenever you change target, Mark For Death! It grants you a bit of Life Leech and it's great to tell your mates who to target first. The discipline cost is minimal and will be regenerated pretty quickly. Make sure it's always on a target. If the 30 second cooldown runs out, place it on your target again.
Keep your Entangling Shot on cooldown as well. It's much more difficult for your target to run away or get close to you if they're slowed down. You don't need to worry about Hatred anymore because it's a Hatred Generator.
Impale is your main DPS ability. It is crucial to make sure to use Impale to deal out Max damage thanks to Grievous Wounds and Sharpshooter. Use it as much as possible when you have the Hatred to use it.
Hungering Arrow is your main Hatred Generator. On top of being near impossible to miss, it deals a Damage over Time so your enemy bleeds while you're not using this skill.
When you start being low on Health, slow down the health loss by activating Shadow Power. This can be helpful to turn the tides of battle because of the extra attack speed. Make sure you have Marked For Death activated and you cast Impale as much as possible to deal as much damage as possible.
Finally, there is Smoke Screen. If the enemy is getting too close for your liking, run away from him at high speeds. Try to appear in an area where he won't expect you, but is still within range of your attacks.
It's crucial to keep your distances from your target. If you have team mates, try to get some tanks in front of you while you deal damage from the back.
To Be Continued...
Edited by Bostoncreme on 9/23/2011 9:23 AM PDT
v1.0 : Uploaded on 16/09/2011
v1.1 : Reworked due to DH resource system change. (23/09/2011)
v1.2 : Thanks to scmPwny for noticing a better rune for Hungering Arrow. Updated. (26/09/2011)
**Sorry about the multiple bumps, I'm just making sure I'll have enough space for a full guide once the game is released or I have additional information to share.**
Edited by Bostoncreme on 9/26/2011 12:26 PM PDT
Regulator, please post it! Sharing ideas is much more valuable than hogging a build in the hopes that you have "superiority" with it for a day... The game won't be released for a long time, you aren't going to gain anything by staying silent.
Boston, looks like a great way to play. I'm pumped for PvP, even if it's not ranked/laddered in any way (wish it was though :( )
Boston: When looking at Hungering Arrow hypothetically, the golden (95% piercing) rune will produce BY FAR the most total damage keeping in mind that if a pierce happens the arrow will continue hitting the same target if no other targets are closer.
It produces ~2185% damage from 1 arrow on average.
I was under the impression that if there is only one enemy nearby, it will only pierce through that enemy once and would just continue on without hitting him a second time.
I'll look into it.
*EDIT* After watching a few videos, I've noticed that you are correct. Thanks for letting me know, I'll update it :D.
Edited by Bostoncreme on 9/26/2011 12:05 PM PDT
Haha if hungering arrow behaves that way, it is DEFINITELY a bug. Link to video/tampstamp?
And by bug I mean unintentional/overlooked. You can't have 1 arrow kill everything just because it has a high rate of going through an enemy. If it cyclicly hits the same mob, the skill is broken.
Edited by dslyecix on 9/26/2011 4:11 PM PDT
It definitely would. I think a max of 3 pierces would be a reasonable amount. As for the pierce percentage...I don't know if that needs a nerf. There's a reason you'd pick a certain rune over another. If they choose to reduce it, I'd say they could reduce it to lets say 80%?
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