Diablo® III

Demon Hunter Design Issues

Posts: 13
Disclaimer
This is theorycrafting. I have not played the Demon Hunter (or any classes) yet, and I know that all the classes will surely be changed in some form before final release. This is my take on the current Demon Hunter from a theoretical perspective and why its build options are much narrower than they appear.

Let's start with the tl;dr for those who want to skip straight to the point, because this is going to be long.

tl;dr: Evasive Fire is the only reasonable choice for your primary hatred generator.

How did I get to that conclusion? Let's start with what role your generators are supposed to be filling.

Why use a generator?
Hatred generators are utility spells, really. Your damage is going to be coming from your spenders. If the generators dealt as much damage as the spenders, why would you ever bother spending hatred? To entice you to spend hatred, the hatred spenders are, well, better. That means that hatred generators should be good at generating you hatred to spend on your big spenders, and to keep you alive long enough to actually get off the heavy hitters.

What about my other favorite generator?
Hungering Arrow: Hungering arrow is decent single-target damage. With runes, it can be made into decent single-target damage with less-than-average AoE. It does nothing to keep you safe, no matter what, and generates less hatred than Evasive Fire.

Bola Shot/Grenades/Spike Trap: These are not bread and butter skills. Yes, they can serve useful functions, but their delays prohibit them from really being amazing spammed abilities. They are all about damage, and not about utility. They do not serve the purpose of a primary generator, although they can be good as situational backup generators.

Entangling Shot: It doesn't generate as much hatred as Evasive Fire, right off the bat. It doesn't deal as much damage as Evasive Fire. Even though that's not a primary requirement of a good generator, it is nice to have. The utility granted by Entangling Shot is not good when used in quick succession, while Evasive Fire's utility is. Entangling Shot is the second best Demon Hunter generator, but it is still completely outclassed by Evasive Fire.

Strafe: Strafe is all kinds of bad. It still technically costs hatred, despite being in generators, but it doesn't have the damage output of the spenders. You still gain hatred while using Strafe, but it's slower than your passive regeneration. This means that, as far as damage output is concerned, you're better off using any hatred spender. As far as hatred regeneration is concerned, you're better off using any other hatred generator.

Yes, you can kite a bit with Strafe, but not as well as you can with Evasive Fire. And you're not gaining as much hatred while you're doing it. Strafe is outclassed by every single other Demon Hunter skill.

What makes Evasive Fire so special?
It is the best of all the worlds of all the generators. It keeps you safe, its utility is always useful, it generates the most hatred, and it still maintains decent damage. You can use it to automatically kite while recharging hatred super-fast and getting back to where the real action is: your hatred spenders.

Conclusion
Please post constructive comments only. Please feel free to prove me wrong with your well-thought-out Demon Hunter builds that don't include Evasive Fire. I want to be wrong in this, but I've thought about it quite a lot and can't seem to figure it out.
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Posts: 2
I have never known you to be wrong RE: theory crafting in games, so I, too, look forward to constructive responses.

(sorry, I realize this is not a constructive comment)
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85 Troll Druid
3535
Posts: 415
I wholly disagree. Most of my builds include evasive, but only for utility, not as a main damage ability.

I think that Your main premise- that hatred using abilities should be thought of as constituting the vast majority of you damage- is mistaken.

The reason I do not use evasive shot as my primary shot is that it does poor damage. It does 115% of wep damage to one target. Bola, when runed with alabaster, does 260% to the target and a decent amt of aoe. Having to wait 2 secs before it goes off does not matter at all; you can even spam it on a target and they will all go off. Just change targets after touve fired enough bolas to kill. Hungering arrow does 110 % but can be runed to do significant aoe damage.

If all you care about is hatred generation, EF isn't even the best. Using the regular attack with Fundamentals does a lot more damage (200%) and more hatred. If you need to leap back switch to EF when they get close.

Yes, the hatred generated per sec is easily the best, but this isn't all that matters. If you spend about 66% of your time building hatred and 33% of your time using it, you'll note that the damage of hatred generators is huge. Looked these examples:

-EF as primary hate gen. Crimson MS as your generator. I will express damage as a function of %wep Dmg and time as number of shots. I will ignore intrinsic hate generation as it can be thought of as independent of hate generators.

A sample rotation would be EF, EF, EF, MS. This is a total of 4 shots which do a total of ~675% wep damage over 4 shots which is an avg of 170% wep damage per shot.

Let's use alabaster Bola for hate gen. Bola x 6 then crimson MS. That's 260x6 + 330 = 1890%. Divide by 7 shots and that's 270% wep Dmg per shot. That's not including the aoe.
Edited by Dahippee on 9/27/2011 10:57 AM PDT
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Posts: 13
You have a good point in that you cannot completely ignore the generators as a damage source. Bola, especially, has very good damage if you rune it properly.

There are a few things about your post that I find a little questionable however. I'll try to address all of them.

I never said that Evasive Fire was my primary damage skill, although I think that was just a typo of yours. You make an absolutely excellent point that basic attacks make for the best hatred generation, and Evasive Fire is really also now only useful for a utility skill. Perhaps I was wrong and Evasive Fire isn't the bread and butter I was expecting it to be, but this makes the end result even worse. Basic attacks are boring, and other classes do not have to rely on basic attacks for increased damage and generation over their interesting attacks. It's not the same design issue, but it's still a design issue.



As for your math, ignoring the intrinsic hatred generation isn't treating them equally. With Evasive Fire (or basic attacks), you can cast Multishot after 1 or 2 attacks; there is no reason to save up all 3 every time or you'll be oversaturated with hatred.

It's better to use the resource than waste potential "free" hatred you could gain through passive generation. You would be spamming Multishot much more often than you give credit for. Unfortunately, without exact hatred generation numbers, it's impossible to fully mathcraft this data. You may still be correct that Bola Shot + Multishot is more total damage output even with intrinsic hatred taken into account, but we won't be sure until we have more information.

Essentially, with Bola it might be a 66%-Generator/33%-Spender split, but with Evasive Fire or basic attacks it will be closer to 50%-Generator/50%-Spender, which alters the damage calculation significantly.



I think my main issue comes with the fact that I like to go for more eclectic builds, trying to find the fringe uses of abilities and interesting synergies that might not have popped out to people right away. And whenever I build a Demon Hunter, I always come back to Evasive Fire. It's been in every single build, regardless of what direction I try to take it in. Many of the Demon Hunter's skills are clearly outclassed by other Demon Hunter skills. Maybe the focus isn't quite as narrow as I made it out in the original post, but it is still narrower than the number of skills would suggest.
Edited by StrixVaria on 9/27/2011 11:25 AM PDT
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Posts: 67
I kind of agree. And while I enjoy Evasive Fire (and if I ever actually don't play the way I'm trying to, it'll be what I use), my current build-hopeful is not using any generators at all. Fundamentals and passive regen should hopefully keep me running, so when I'm not spending, I'm auto attacking.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#alZUQk!WXc!aZaZYa
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Just a note: I love Evasive Fire.

You are forgetting how you can still take discipline skills for survivability/utility and actually take a higher damaging generator. Evasive fire does less damage but it provides generator and utility in one skill so it opens up another slot for something else. I see this as a choice and I don't think it makes Evasive Fire required or the better option.

Notes on some skills:

Hungering Arrow is actually quite good for damage with 95% pierce or the 8 Arrow split.

Grenades with golden runestone and grenadier passive will provide the highest amount of hatred generation. This is assuming they will stack but just getting one makes it generate over twice as much hatred as Evasive Fire anyway.

Strafe is the only generator that can be runed for Rockets and provides some utility just like Evasive Fire, being able to move while attacking.

Spike Trap and Bola Shot might have delays but they cover the option of high AoE damage generators.
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85 Troll Druid
3535
Posts: 415
Evasive fire is in most of my builds too but that's not because it's the greatest hate gen but because it's the best defense.

Sure, the intrinsic hate gen alters the formula somewhat, but I also didn't factor in Bola's or Hungering's multitarget damage. That extra aoe Dmg will make a huge differences in most cases. Hungering can even offer a significant single target boost as well.

The point is that all hate gen's have their uses. They are less general than the hate sPenders, so they are actually more interesting.

I haven't even gone into spike trap. For slow weapons it offers hate gen approx equal to EF and offers massive damage. Sure it's not as easy as click to fire but it offers a substantial benefit if you know how to use it. See my thread 'area control' for a description of the build.
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Posts: 354
I agree and plan to have Evasive Fire in my build. You get a Vault ability while at the same time doing damage. My build is going to be a slow/kite build but still includes Bola Shot as a damage source when I have no more Hatred.

Some variations of my theory build below.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aYcUgQ!cXU!ZaaaZZ

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aYcUZQ!cXe!caaabY
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90 Human Paladin
0
Posts: 214
09/27/2011 01:13 PMPosted by Chekmate
I agree and plan to have Evasive Fire in my build. You get a Vault ability while at the same time doing damage. My build is going to be a slow/kite build but still includes Bola Shot as a damage source when I have no more Hatred.


Vault with Covering Fire also deals damage (205% weapon damage at "nearby targets", so assuming short range aoe).

Personally I'd prefer to slow targets with Entangling Shot (9 foes with Chaingang) for a kite build rather than use Evasive Fire, especially with the 20% damage bonus from Cull the Weak. Gives enough time for Spike Trap activation as they amble slowly towards you.

Additionally I'd use Vault with Tumble as an escape, provides 2x 35 yard flips for 12 Discipline, 3x for 14, 4x for 16 etc etc. Thats a lot of potential distance covered. Depends how valuable Discipline is to your particular build.

Evasive Fire could still act as a nice alternative to Vault, I just have other Hatred generators in mind that I would rather use.
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Posts: 354
Entangling Shot with ChainGang only slows mobs for 2 seconds. That's not much time to benefit from Cull of the Weak.

I'm leaning towards using Caltrops to slow mobs and using Evasive Fire to create distance. Caltrops lasts 12 seconds once activated so I believe the mob would be slowed the entire time it was within the trap field.

With Caltrops - Carved Stakes and max Discipline, I can use Marked for Death, Shadow Power, and place two Caltrops back to back to keep mobs slowed for a longer period.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aYcUZQ!cXe!caaabY
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Posts: 230
09/27/2011 02:24 PMPosted by Arkaic
Personally I'd prefer to slow targets with Entangling Shot (9 foes with Chaingang) for a kite build rather than use Evasive Fire, especially with the 20% damage bonus from Cull the Weak. Gives enough time for Spike Trap activation as they amble slowly towards you.


ES only damages the one mob that you shoot at, right? Or is it every mob attached by the chain...?
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09/27/2011 02:44 PMPosted by HRP
ES only damages the one mob that you shoot at, right? Or is it every mob attached by the chain...?


It damages everything it hits (2 at first, up to 9 with the level 7 runestone).
Edited by JumpyMonkey on 9/27/2011 2:47 PM PDT
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Posts: 2,128
I was wondering, if DH is using two one hand xbows, when you use an ability ¿one turn you use right hand and the second turn the other one?

If that is true the you can spam abilities much more fasters, one hand shooting direct damage (evasive fire, hungering arrow) and the other AOE damage (bola).

ALso concisdering using vault ability with runestone for damage while kiting
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100 Blood Elf Death Knight
20100
Posts: 197
Doesn't golden hungering arrow at level 7 come out to the highest damage possible for any ability (outside of hitting like 100 mobs with multishot). Assuming there's no cap on pierces or hitting the same target over and over one arrow does like 2300% wd on average.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#beUQaS!cWY!bZYbcZ

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#beUQXk!cWg!bZYbcY

Those are the two builds I'm gonna go with most likely.
Edited by Illasera on 9/27/2011 3:50 PM PDT
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Posts: 354
Piercing gives a projectile the chance to pass through a target and continue on to hit a second target for full damage.

Hungering Arrow with 95% piercing, there is 5% chance it will stop passing through mobs to do 115% weapon damage.

Impale with Crimson Runestone (Overpenetration) is 100% piercing for 358% weapon damage.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what piercing does.
Edited by Chekmate on 9/27/2011 4:06 PM PDT
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100 Blood Elf Death Knight
20100
Posts: 197
The idea is with over penetration is that impale will pierce in a straight line and do damage to all the enemies in that line (however many that will be), but the enemies will have to be lined up to capitalize on the damage.

With golden hungering arrow the arrow will keep piercing targets and seek out new ones over and over. These enemies will not have to be lined up and could even be the same target, if there is no cap on consecutive pierces.
Edited by Illasera on 9/27/2011 4:09 PM PDT
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Posts: 12
I've only skimmed over other posts but I will try to respond to opening post.

All the generators are situational, your primary will depend on what the demand is.

Just looking at the normal skill Evasive fire only hits a single target. When large clusters of enemies move towards you it is better to use abilities that will spread damage through out the groups. Bola shot/grenades makes a far better generator when facing large waves of enemies.

Hungering Arrow seems more likely to be the main Hatred Generator, assuming that when it pierces a target it will continue to seek out a target. With luck you could be doing more damage per a second if your arrows keep piercing a target. It generates less hatred because it has the potential to do allot more damage. Imagine if every shot fired kept piercing a target. Place on arrow in play, then next shot has two arrows in play and so on.

Evasive fire repositions you if enemy gets close and eats your discipline. Evasive fire is inferior if your fighting enemies in a tight space where you have little room to back flip away. Or worse could potentially make you jump into a mob that is flanking you. Or burn discipline out so you can't vault when you really need to.

Entangling shot lets you slow enemy where you can just kite off it with out burning discipline. Seems to be the must have ability when dealing with enemy packs.

Stafe sounds like it will fall in line with entangling shot, doing sustained damage while moving away from danger.
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90 Human Paladin
0
Posts: 214

It damages everything it hits (2 at first, up to 9 with the level 7 runestone).


No it only damages the target you aimed it at, just applies the slow to additional targets.

09/27/2011 02:36 PMPosted by Chekmate
Entangling Shot with ChainGang only slows mobs for 2 seconds. That's not much time to benefit from Cull of the Weak.


As Entangling Shot is a hatred generator I would be spamming it anyway as my left mouse button (completely replacing normal attack), alternating with Multishot on right button to burn Hatred. The only time it would likely lose its slow effect is during kiting, in which case its a matter of run-shoot-run-shoot-run-shoot which isn't impossible to do. Substitute in Bounty Hunter rune for boss fights and you have a spammable heal (22% of damage done) which isn't too shabby, alternating with Impale as a high damage Hatred dump.

The problems I have with Caltrops are that its reliant on bottlenecked mobs, and that it requires extra discipline cost I could spend elsewhere. Even with the Carved Stakes rune the slow effect falls after mobs leave the area, requiring you to continuously lay a path as each trap is triggered just to maintain the slow effect - Adds up to a lot of discipline spent. I could see the Jagged Spikes rune providing some nice damage, or the Torturous Ground rune providing fantastic immobilization, but if your being attacked from multiple angles a trap in one spot isn't as good as firing slows in multiple directions.
Edited by Arkaic on 9/27/2011 6:42 PM PDT
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It damages everything it hits (2 at first, up to 9 with the level 7 runestone).


No it only damages the target you aimed it at, just applies the slow to additional targets.


I guess you aren't in the beta, please don't spread false information.

I tried to screenshot it but that was really hard to actually show it so I found a video for you, at around 11:30 you will see the demon hunter shooting and damaging two targets with entangling shot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiCwATxb0a0
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Posts: 132
Well chekmate and jumpymonkey said most of what I wanted to say so I'll keep it short. While I do not believe that evasive fire is the only reasonable choice (that really has to do with your play style a ton and your build as well), I do think it is a sweet skill will some nice runed abillities and was planning on including it in my build, but I can honestly say that I might be biased because I want to try and use the thing like I used strafe from Diablo 2, which was to use it until my finger cramped up...then switch fingers and use it some more.
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