Diablo® III

Principles of Build Design

90 Gnome Warlock
5770
Posts: 423
I’ve been very interested in playing DH for a very long time. I’ve also spent a lot of time obsessing with the build calculator and figuring out every nuance of the abilities based on their descriptions. Obviously we don’t know exactly how all the abilities and runes work, but we have a good idea.

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!

General:
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.

Attack
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.

Defense
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.
Edited by Tachycardia#1921 on 4/18/2012 6:09 PM PDT
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85 Blood Elf Death Knight
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Posts: 273
thanks for this, was really insightful :)
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Inspiring. thanks.
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I'm a bit worried about the demon hunter skill balance to be honest.. particularly when it comes to the passives and generators.

Just as you said, the passives seem to come down to Archery + Steady Aim + One other, with the other very likely to include Vengeance or maybe Cull the Weak or Grenadier. The rest generally seem pretty crappy.

Then for hatred generator I think entangling shot is the obvious choice, with maybe some people choosing hungering arrow or grenades (for the cluster arrow combo).
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Posts: 196
I find Vengeance totally overrated, if you cant find health globes its just a flat 25 increase in your hatred pool, not very impressive. Grenadier will be used a lot in Grenades+Cluster builds, its pretty decent passive if you ask me. Cull of the Weak can be a great passive especially if you use ES, not so much if you use Caltrops for the slow, cuz you'll lose the Steady Aim bonus most of the time. Night Stalker is a must in a disc-oriented build. Even Numbing Traps and Custom Engineering has it uses if your build is properly designed. Brooding seems interesting, maybe not so much for PvE but for PvP it owns.

Now, Hot Pursuit, Perfectionist and Sharpshooter, thats some useless passives.
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90 Gnome Warlock
5770
Posts: 423
Just as you said, the passives seem to come down to Archery + Steady Aim + One other, with the other very likely to include Vengeance or maybe Cull the Weak or Grenadier. The rest generally seem pretty crappy.

Then for hatred generator I think entangling shot is the obvious choice, with maybe some people choosing hungering arrow or grenades (for the cluster arrow combo).


I think they might end up nerfing/removing either Archery or Steady Aim. They only way they wouldn't feel mandatory is if you really needed a passive-based defense, or made a close-up build; neither of which I feel is a very wise choice.

I feel like Entangling Shot is good but I don't feel it overwhelms the others. With most runes it is good utility/defense. Chain Gang brings its damage up considerably, but I still think Bola- Volatile Explosives and Evasive- Covering Fire are better AOE damage in most situations. I'll have to wait to play before I decide on Grenades- they seem really limited by their range and damage spread. Hungering Arrow- Puncturing Arrow is the undisputed best single target hate generator.
Edited by Tachycardia#1921 on 4/18/2012 9:33 AM PDT
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9 Blood Elf Rogue
0
Posts: 27
I find Vengeance totally overrated, if you cant find health globes its just a flat 25 increase in your hatred pool, not very impressive. Grenadier will be used a lot in Grenades+Cluster builds, its pretty decent passive if you ask me. Cull of the Weak can be a great passive especially if you use ES, not so much if you use Caltrops for the slow, cuz you'll lose the Steady Aim bonus most of the time. Night Stalker is a must in a disc-oriented build. Even Numbing Traps and Custom Engineering has it uses if your build is properly designed. Brooding seems interesting, maybe not so much for PvE but for PvP it owns.

Now, Hot Pursuit, Perfectionist and Sharpshooter, thats some useless passives.


I think Vengeance's value relies on a few things.
1) Will items have +To Max Hatred (Like they do for Disc), so far I've only see +Hatred regen. This increases the value of Vengeance.
2)
a) Synergistic passives/actives, like Multishot with Disc per hit
b) Night Stalker - On crit chance to restore 2 disc(depends on internal cooldown and percentage)
c) Preperation with no cooldown restoring all Hatred for 25 Disc. (150 Hatred compared to 125 Adds up quickly).
d) How much +Max disc items will end up having (we could see 40, 50, 60+ maybe max disc)

These synergies vastly improve the value of Vengeance in my opinion, I will find a way to spam multishot, if only for sheer nostalgia.

Without these Synergies, the only "Plus" besides the health globes, would be a burst situation where the extra 25 Hatred can land you a kill (Thinking more Pvp), thus making this a lackluster passive.
Edited by CDubbz31#1242 on 4/18/2012 4:46 PM PDT
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1) Will items have +To Max Hatred (Like they do for Disc), so far I've only see +Hatred regen. This increases the value of Vengeance.


If anything having +max hatred items decreases the need for Vengeance. It just makes your base pool of hatred bigger so the extra 25 from Vengeance becomes less and less useful. Plus I'm not a fan of having a huge maximum pool anyways. Most of the time you'll be using yours so it matters how fast you regen it more than what the max you can have is (although it will still be important for the start of fights / burst).

a) Synergistic passives/actives, like Multishot with Disc per hit
b) Night Stalker - On crit chance to restore 2 disc(depends on internal cooldown and percentage)


How do these benefit Vengeance? They give you disc back so you're actually less reliant on Vengeance's disc per health globe. Vengeance doesn't increase your maximum discipline.
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The value of Vengeance max hate increase really only shows at the very beginning of a fight, or if you use Preparation- Punishment.

Most of the value of Vengeance directly correlates with the number of health globes that drop. From the videos i've seen, a fair number of them drop. At least enough to refill full hatred in an average sized fight. It's very possible that drops arent so generous later in the game, in which case it isnt so valuable.

I have seen Brooding as a popular choice. I find the value of this to be pretty low. 1% per sec after not being hit for 3. I would bet on getting hit a lot in pvp, such that itd be qlmoat pointless. PvE a bit more benefit but id still bet on being hit fairly often.

This is the OP btw, I don't always want to be seen as the character my wife named ;)
Edited by Tachycardia#1921 on 4/23/2012 2:47 PM PDT
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Posts: 36
Good post. Here is my build http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aQVYSd!UeX!abZcab

Using spike trap for single & few target damage. Not sure about caltrops rune yet, the 80% slow is really nice in the beta and might be worthwhile for inferno.
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9 Blood Elf Rogue
0
Posts: 27
04/19/2012 09:12 PMPosted by LtShaft
1) Will items have +To Max Hatred (Like they do for Disc), so far I've only see +Hatred regen. This increases the value of Vengeance.


If anything having +max hatred items decreases the need for Vengeance.

a) Synergistic passives/actives, like Multishot with Disc per hit
b) Night Stalker - On crit chance to restore 2 disc(depends on internal cooldown and percentage)


How do these benefit Vengeance? They give you disc back so you're actually less reliant on Vengeance's disc per health globe. Vengeance doesn't increase your maximum discipline.


I can see you didn't understand my post at all, or I didn't communicate clearly.

1)
If anything having +max hatred items decreases the need for Vengeance.
, Exactly, that's why we have to wait and see if there ARE +max hatred items. (Because currently in BETA there are ONLY +hatred, regen... This, hatred regen and no max hatred, increases the value of Vengeance).

2)
How do these benefit Vengeance? They give you disc back so you're actually less reliant on Vengeance's disc per health globe. Vengeance doesn't increase your maximum discipline.
Really? Forget about health globes, completely throw them out and assume inferno wont have any, people that believe in the worth of Vengeance are not thinking about globes. They are thinking about all the passives/actives that replenish discipline. What does discipline have to do with Vengeance?

There is an active skilled called preparation, there is a rune called punishment. Combined they do. Use preparation Restore ALL hatred for 25 discipline, Preparation no longer has a cooldown (normally 45 seconds). This skill with more Max discipline (because items have +max disc in beta) and all the synergies that restore discipline INCREASE the value of Vengeance.. a lot.

How? Because 150 Max hatred, being emptied and restored at the press of a button (Prep) adds up a LOT quicker than 125. It also give you the opportunity to restore the disc needed to fuel this.
Edited by CDubbz31#1242 on 4/21/2012 7:43 AM PDT
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Posts: 43
I am really happy to see this post. Since the release of the classes I have been yoyo-ing around the DH (with consideration given to the WD), and have written many posts regarding clarification as well as possible builds. Then things changed... and all the folks who used to post really insightful builds and questions seemed to disappear.

Those were dark days for DHs... but thankfully recently the good questions have started to come back! This post is really well thought out, and I appreciate everyones' input, but especially @Dimplekin for posting it.

I am wondering Dimp if you want to propose a build as a starting point for the DHs reading this post.... we could even name it a Dimple-Hunter (like fishymancers from D2)

:)
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Posts: 43
As an example, this seemed viable

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#bQYTZl!Yec!aabZaa

Where you have :
*Actives*
-Entangling shot serves as your generator, and slows, with some nominal aoe (chain gang).
-Multi serves as a strong aoe at a lowered cost (20 hatred with Fire at will)
-Caltrops further slows down enemies , and does damage (45 dps with jagged spikes)
-Your bat companion does damage, but also gives you 3 hatred/sec (7 total, 30% WD)
-Impale is your big single target attack, with a possible stun effect
-RoV is your BIG Aoe damaging attack. This doesn't eat away at your hatred, but does hit baddies for 12 seconds, and serves out a lot of damage (34% WD per arrow for 12 seconds, with guided arrows)

*Passives*
- Steady aim (stuff should be away from you with your slows and stun), so 20% extra damage
- Archery (using a bow for mixed speed and damage) -> 15% extra damage
- Cull the Weak (stuff is slowed remember?) - > 15% extra damage... because hopefully you are slowing stuff

That covers most of the bases, shouldn't be short on disc or hatred, and probably adds 50% damage a good amount of the time

Does this satisfy the type of build you were thinking about @ Dimplekin?
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Posts: 670
If you are heavy on discipline use, get Multi shot with Discipline regen
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Posts: 3,032
Build design boils down to this:

1x hatred generator
1x single target hatred spender
1x multi target hatred spender
1x vault or evasive fire
1x caltrops
1x whatever you want. Pet, mark of death, shadow power, sentry, or really whatever floats your boat.

Passives vary widely, but I agree it's hard to pass up both steady aim and archery.

If you are missing one of the first 5 categories entirely, you are not doing it right or you are relying on allies to tank/slow for you.
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Thanks for the props, Drumir and others. This is the OP again.

I had hoped this thread might be used to for build discussion and am glad to see them. I hope that the discussion will remain constructive.

I'll just comment on a few builds I've seen. I don't mean to offend by making suggestions; maybe I'll overlook something or be completely wrong. Everyone has to note that no one here has experience with this class above level 13, so this is all conjecture based on ability descriptions and limited videos (which I admit I have seen a lot of).

In order to be constructive, try to point out strengths and weaknesses of the build. Also, try to point out how it adheres to the principles in my OP. If it doesn't, maybe it advocates a new principle that we could learn from and you could point it out.

@Medzo: Overall a fairly strong build. I see you are using the popular Preparation- Punishment + MS- Suppression and Night stalker combo. I think that one of the main impetuses behind the MS change to 40 hatred, perhaps, was this very combo. Warning; the following discussion regarding the Prep/Suppression combo might be lengthy- skip the stuff in between ** if you want to avoid it.

**Prior to the change, MS could be fired numerous times on even a small (~6) group and be used to fuel a lot of Preps. Hatred from Prep could be used for a variety of purposes. After the change, it seems that against moderate sized groups, MS might only generate enough disc to keep up with the Hatred it generates from Prep. In other words, you'd need a group of ~8 to make the cost of MS equal the disc generation of MS (ie, 3x MS cost 120 hate, generate 24 disc which fuels a Prep for 125 hate).

The good thing about this is that now MS actually does decent damage on its own; once you can maintain the chain of 3x MS to prep to 3x MS, you're doing good damage. Previously, using MS didn't need as many target to generate the disc needed to fuel it, but if you had to fire it a lot you were losing damage, as 115% damage wasn't good except vs large numbers of targets. The bad thing (although maybe not really bad) about this change is that you can't really use other abilities so much except against very large numbers (in which case you probably want to use MS anyhow). **

The end result of all that is that the Prep/MS- Supp combo covers all your AoE needs. Medzo, I might pick a different ability for your single/few targets (oligo) hate spender. Hungering Arrow is great, but Spike Trap really only shines against large numbers. Its cost is more comparable to large AoEs. It might also be difficult to reliably trigger vs. a single target. It also conflicts with Caltrops; I rarely use the two in the same build. I find Bandolier to be a little odd since they changed Spike Trap; it seems OP if used before a fight but is the worst rune during a fight. My main suggestion for your build is to replace Spike Trap with a strong single target like Impale or Rapid Fire. I still find Custom Engineering to be less desirable than, say, Steady Aim.

I'll comment on some others soon. Thanks.
Edited by Tachycardia#1921 on 4/23/2012 4:02 PM PDT
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Posts: 123
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#UcXTkP!heg!abaZaZ

Me Next!

Also it'd be cool if we could break down our build explanation into categories! Let me demonstrate!

Overall Theme:

Rocket General Purpose Damage with hatred Regen Support.

Hatred Spenders:
Rapid Fire with Fire Support -Benefits from Synergy with Ballistics for 228% Damage + 85% damage from Rockets with Ballistics.

Cluster Arrow: General AoE Bomb with Shooting Stars to Fire Rockets Instead of Grenades. Good for clusters for low HP Enemies or when larger Area of Effect is needed. Also benefits from Grenadier Passive for 40 Hatred cost instead of 50. +50% extra damage from Ballistics.

Hatred Generators:
Grenades- Benefits from Grenadier Perk and Tinkerer for 8 Hatred Regen per use.

Companion Crow: Regens 3 Hatred Per second. Helps keep up with Rapid Shot.

Support:
Sentry Turret: Benefits from Ballistics perk 20% weapon damage + 58% damage Rockets.

Smoke Screen: Figured this would be my survival skill. Enemies get too close or HP drops too much..WOOSH Vanish with 35% speed increase to get the hell out of Dodge. Could also substitute caltrops in here for more enemy control instead.

Passives:
Ballsitics: 50% rocket damage. Nuff Said.
Archery: Would probably use a long/shortbow with this. +15% damage yay.
Grenadier- Benefits Grenades and Cluster Arrow. Also makes you a giant bomb when you die. HIIYAHH!
Edited by Bofonic#1346 on 4/23/2012 4:46 PM PDT
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@Drumir:
Pretty good build.  Rain of Vengeance is one I don't see often, but I think it is underrated.  It's passive damage that costs very little time or resources. It is large damage on a large cool down. Another passive damage ability is companion. Again virtually no time or resource investment. Companion is low but consistent damage, basically a DoT. Boar is the best example of this (yes I realize you took bat, but that rune fills another role).

One criticism is that Entangling and Caltrops overlap. Any mob in your trap isn't being hurt by entangling's snare. Also, I often feel that mobs travel pretty quickly through the trap with 60% reduction, probably fast enough that they won't take more than one or more ticks of damage. Hooked Spines doubles the slow (40% mob speed goes to 20). You might benefit from using it and a more damaging generator.

@Bofonic:
I think some points brought up by your critic are valid, though kinda rude. Grenades With tinkerer, yeah give you great hate, but produce little damage. Their range is bad, their spread is bad and their damage isnt great baseline. One thing that players have to take into account is that generators will do a significant portion of your damage; decreasing your damage by runing for extra hate isn't always worth it, especially if the baseline spell isn't good. When I use grenades I use a rune that improves its spread or damage, and then use grenadier to improve hate gen.

Also, I think that Ballistics improves the damage of the rockets by a relative %, not an absolute. Sentry does 20% baseline, rockets add 8, and I think Balls adds 4, not 50. It's just personal preference, but I always use exogenous disc generators if I'm going to use offensive disc abilities since I don't want to be left defenseless. Another consideration is that the ideal number of targets for the Shooting Stars of Cluster is 3; not too far off from the number for Rapid Fire. I personally think these runes overlap a bit. My rocket builds use rockets for the primary attack, but I avoid trying to stuff the build full of them as they tend to overlap.

I'll post one of my more straightforward but likely most effective builds here for some comments:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#WcYdSj!YeX!ababcY

Rapid Fire with rockets does strong single target. M4D With mortal enemy allows me to use it a long time vs tough targets, though it probably only procs once per weapon cycle. Withering Fire is a good option if more movement is required.

Bolas do great AoE damage and Volatile amps it up. Bola isnt too shabby on single target if i happen to bottom out on hate, but ideally m4d allows mostly RF for single target. Spike trap with scatter also does good AoE as a spender. Its spread isn't as good as multi, but it hits harder, and I can clean up with Bola or RF. Of course multi is an option here if you don't like traps.

Caltrops + vault. Both strong defense. Vault probably not as necessary with caltrops, but positioning is valuable even if your enemy is slow. May use other vault runes. Also, caltrops can interfere with spike trap, but if you place your traps in the middle of crowds (spike trap can be placed from range) it should be ok.

Passives- requisite steady and archery. I picked Night Stalker because I have a soft spot for disc, and have 3 disc skills ( though I won't be spamming m4d on most targets). Ballistics is an obvious alternative, though it only adds 50% wd per sec (35*3 *1.5). Added to the base of 228 + 100/sec, and then taking into account this isn't all of my damage, I felt disc was more important.
Edited by Tachycardia#1921 on 4/24/2012 1:03 PM PDT
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