I’ve made a lot of my own builds, but also run across a lot of others. During this time, I’ve come to assemble some principles of good build design. Of course leveling builds will be different than level 60 builds, due to limitations in skill/rune selection. But in general, here are my principles; feel free to add your own!
1) Avoid using more than one ability to fill one role. For example, there’s no point in having two single target hatred spenders, because you only have so much hatred. Same for hate generators (though the limit here is time). Obviously, secondary characteristics may be desirable even if the primary function overlaps.
2) One of the main differences between damage abilities is the number of targets they hit. Another modifier is the shape of their damage area; Chakram has great damage but will hit less targets than Multishot in general. You probably want one ability for small numbers of targets (1-3) and another for AoE. Having a generator and a spender that hit similar numbers of targets is ok, though you may not want to have both single target and AOE hate generators. Keep principle (1) in mind. Passive skills like Companion are good if you’ve covered all other categories.
3) Do not trick yourself into thinking hatred efficiency is everything. When it comes down to it, your main resource is time. Using a big damage ability and then firing a few generators may do more overall damage than using an efficient ability several times. On the other hand, smaller attacks generally do less ‘overkill’ damage, so don’t always just go for big damage.
4) Weapon speed doesn’t matter a lot in general. You may burn through hatred faster, but you also generate it faster. The DH’s inherent hatred generation rate of 4/sec does favor slow weapons slightly, but this will likely be offset by increased procs from fast weapons in retail (Blizz made an extensive post about slow v fast weps stating this). Exceptions: abilities that generate hate (Preparation- Punishment), have a long CD (FoK, Rain of Vengeance), DoT’s (Impale Chemical Burn) or don’t rely on weapon speed (Rapid Fire’s rune- Fire support) favor slow weps.
5) Passives- Steady Aim and Archery are hard to pass up because they are significant damage boosts that are active all or a majority of the time. Cull the weak is an option if you have a lot of snares, though I wouldn’t replace either of the previous. Ballistics is now a 50% bonus; only consider this if rocket abilities make up the vast majority of your damage (notably no hate generators benefit so this is difficult). Options for the third slot include hate generation (Vengeance) disc generation (Night Stalker), Cull the Weak, defense (below). Consider Grenadier if you use Cluster Arrow a lot. I find most of the others less intriguing.
6) The majority of the DH’s defense relies on Discipline. There are offensive Disc abilities, but make sure that if you use these extensively, you have several ways to generate more disc. Non-disc options include stuns (Runes for Impale and FoK especially, also Grenades and Elemental Arrow) and a few passives (Tactical advantage, Numbing Traps).
7) You need at least one defensive ability. Likely Vault, Smoke Screen, Caltrops or Evasive Fire. Caltrops or Entangle may amplify the effect of the mobility based skills. Shadow Power or other life drains may be needed in higher difficulties where health globes are less common and mobility may not be enough. It’s not clear yet how much life drain will be obtainable on weapons; it is fairly certain there will be some, but that it will be less than in D2.