Diablo® III

Demon Hunter Guide - Inferno 101

(Locked)

*** Updated for Patch 1.03! ***

Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Section 1 - Gearing Up
  • Section 2 - Skill Builds
  • Section 2b - Advanced Builds
  • Section 3 - Fighting Elites
  • Section 4 - Helpful Resources
  • Conclusion
  • FAQ


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**** Introduction
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This is a guide for anyone making the switch from Hell to Inferno. For the first time in your life, you can't one-shot everything which typically means a lot of dying on your part. Most Demon Hunters can make it through Hell without much difficulty because you don't really have to learn how to survive. All those Hunter and Defense type skills take a back seat to Multishot, Cluster Arrow, and the infamous Elemental arrow. You can get away with having four different Hatred spenders. That time is now over.

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**** Section 1 - Gearing Up
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#1 Priority = Your New Weapon

To start inferno the single most important upgrade to buy is your WEAPON. You need a level 60 2-hand weapon with at least 800 DPS. You need to be level 60 to enter Inferno, but you can still get an 800 DPS weapon at level 58 to help you grind the last few levels. However it will cost you around 200k instead of 50k. Simply look for a weapon level 60 - 60 and choose the filter for "Reduce Level Requirement". Set the value to 60 minus your current level (ie 2 if you are level 58). If you are lower than 58 the pricing for the suggestions listed in this guide will likely be significantly more expensive, and it will probably be a better use of your money to wait until at least 58 to upgrade.

When searching for your new weapon, the single thing you are looking for is HIGH DPS. I personally recommend a crossbow because because of the bonus it receives from the passive ability Archery (in addition to it's high DPS and slow attack speed), but if the bows you can afford have significantly higher DPS, or you prefer a bow then you can go that route.

If you have a little extra money and want to snag some extra stats look for either Crit Damage or a socket (which you can green gem for Crit Damage). These are relatively cheap stats compared to Dexterity. Attack Speed and Life Steal are significantly less valuable to you right now because they are percent based which means they rely on already having high damage. For the same reason, they are MORE valuable to players with high damage (who have a lot of money driving the price of these stats up).

Important Note - DON'T hold out for a rare with 100 dexterity, attack speed, life steal, etc. You're unlikely to be able to afford it, or you will end up hurting yourself in the end because your DPS will be too low to kill any elites. It is totally OK, and usually a BETTER choice to get a magic (blue color) weapon at first because they are relatively cheap for how much DPS they do. Remember, Inferno is all about incremental upgrades. Don't waste all your money on one piece of gear in the beginning.

Concerning Hand Crossbows - You may be tempted to "be different" and go with 1-hand weapons, but this is a mistake when first playing Inferno. While it is true that LATER you may be able to have excellent DPS with exceptional attack speed, you just aren't there yet. In order for fast 1-handers to really shine you would need a full set of very high damage gear (with a lot of bonus to attack speed, a lot of Crit, and a lot of dexterity). But the single most important reason is that YOU are not as good at surviving as you think you are. The majority of your time and attention will be on kiting. You will RARELY have a free second to shoot, and when you do it needs to count. That means a 2-hander that does 700-900 damage is what you need right now, not 1-handers that do 100-600 damage.


#2 Priority = The Rest of Your Gear

Here is what Inferno Act 3 and 4 players are looking for:
Attack Speed > Crit + Crit Damage > Dex

But that is NOT what you are looking for. Attack Speed is absolutely excellent when you already have a lot of damage (more than 30k) and when you already know how to survive. You are extremely unlikely to be in that situation at the beginning of inferno, so AVOID the expensive Attack Speed items.

You will be looking for:
Max Discipline > Crit + Crit Damage > Dex > All Resist > Vit
Being new to Inferno, you're going to blow through a lot of Discipline trying to learn how to survive. You won't always use it in appropriate situations, and the more you have the faster you'll learn how to get away with less.

Here's a great tip from gotReef concerning + Max Discipline gear:
I like to think of my disc pool as "how many times can I SS in a row". SS costs 14 disc w/o runing or perf. Also consider that base disc regen is 1 disc/sec so in actuality, the cost is 12.5 disc for duration (using lingering fog, and god knows why you would pick anything else). So with 50, you can cast 4 back-to-back SS. For me this is the magic number as it gives 8 SS with prep.


Helm / Bracers / Rings / Belt / Shoulders - Offensive Focus
You should be able to pick up 2-3% Crit with 60-70 Dex on both your rings and your helm as well as your bracers for relatively little gold. As always, try to grab some Vit or Crit Damage if possible. For your belt look for 120 Dex and 60 Vit, and for the shoulders 100 Dex and 60 Vit.

Gloves / Quiver / Amulet - The Crit Boosters
This is where you can pick up the most Crit Chance. For your Quiver, you will focus on as much Max Discipline and Crit Chance as you can find, preferably with Hatred Regen, but not at the cost of Discipline. For your gloves, try to find 6-7% Crit Chance, with 70-80 Dex and any amount of Crit Damage. Finally, for the amulet, look for 100 Dex and 30% Crit Damage.

Chest / Pants - Defensive Focus
The most important thing to find here is + Max Discipline (at least +7) for your chest piece. The rest of your chest piece and all of your pants will be dedicated to Dex and Vit. If you have enough money, try to find some All Resist on your pants as well. Try searching for different combinations. Remember that sockets can make up the difference so these are all essentially the same:
80 Vit + 3 Sockets
80 Dex + 3 Sockets
90 Vit + 80 Dex
40 Vit + 30 Dex + 2 Sockets

Boots - Mobility
The main thing you need here is Movement Speed (try to find more than 10%). Don't forget though, that boots have a high stat cap, so look for either 120 Dex and 60 Vit, or 60 Dex and 120 Vit if you've had trouble getting much Vit on other gear (note that 60/120 is usually cheaper than 90/90).

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**** Section 2 - Choosing Skills
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This is the point where you have to switch out all those fancy damage abilities for all survival abilities. This may not sound like much fun, but it's a lot more fun than dying over and over. The good news is that once you get more comfortable and skilled with using your survival abilities, you'll be able to decide whether you can get by with less.

Important Note - If you haven't done so already, open the game options and check the box for "Elective Mode". This will let you put whatever skills you want in any position.

PASSIVES

We're going to discuss the Passive abilities first, because they often affect which active skills you will choose.

#1 Archery - Archery provides a significant (some would argue the most significant) damage boost to every Demon Hunter regardless of weapon or skill choices. This one should be your number one choice.

#2 Tactical Advantage - It's hard to pick passives that don't boost your damage, but this one is absolutely necessary for learning how to play Inferno. Demon Hunters only survive as long as they can keep distance between themselves and their enemies, and this skill is your single best option to do that.

#3 Steady Aim - 20% bonus damage when there are no enemies within 10 yards. Now 10 yards in Diablo is a relatively short distance, nearly melee range. If you are attacking an enemy, you should only be doing so while there are no enemies standing next to you to begin with. Ideally, almost every attack you make should benefit from this ability.

Alternate #3 Sharpshooter - If you weren't able to pick up enough Crit Chance on your gear to have 25%, you may consider switching to Sharpshooter. Your first attack will always be a Crit, and the longer you wait before attacking again the more chance you have to Crit again. Remember though that your Crits are going to have to boost your damage enough to be better than the 20% flat damage that you are losing. Only choose this is your Crit Chance is extremely low and/or your Crit Damage is extremely high (250% or more).


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Basic Inferno Training Build
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aRdXVg!eaY!cabZcb
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+Hatred
Hungering Arrow - Spray of Teeth (alt Devouring Arrow)

-Hatred
Elemental Arrow - Ball Lightning

Mobility
Vault - Tumble (alt Acrobatics)

Utility
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Preparation - Backup Plan
Shadow Power - Well of Darkness

This build is designed to maximize your ability to survive while still doing as much damage as possible to as many enemies as possible.

Concerning Spray of Teeth - You may have read that Devouring Arrow is the best because each time it pierces, it's damage goes up 70%. That's a 35% chance to do 70% extra damage to one target. Spray of Teeth on the other hand becomes better and better as you gain more Crit. Even a 25% chance to do 50% damage to all targets around your first target is very attractive. In addition, it retains it's 35% chance to pierce in which case it can Crit and AOE again. It's really a personal preference, but remember that you will have excellent single target damage for bosses with Ball Lightning striking 2-3 times each. Spray of Teeth provides a little extra help with the big groups of minions.

Build Playstyle Tips:
  • Use Hunger Arrow's seeking ability to fire around corners, through doorways, and into dark areas.
  • Ball Lightning is your main damage ability. Chain as many as you can into elites or bosses before you have to move.
  • Smoke Screen is your panic button preventing all damage for 1.5 seconds, and also your most expensive ability in terms of Discipline. Reserve it's use for when you are about to get hit, when you need to move past a dangerous enemy or damaging magic, or when a monster teleports directly on top of you.
  • Vault is a much cheaper alternative to Smoke Screen, but still shares the movement speed buff due to Tactical Advantage. Use it to put distance between danger and yourself.
  • Preparation may seem unattractive due to it's cooldown, but you can survive as long as you have Discipline and as long as you don't make a mistake. This won't help with mistakes but it effectively doubles your Discipline. Preparation is even MORE valuable for you because you (should) have 15-20 extra Max Discipline.
  • Shadow Power is fairly expensive at 12 Discipline even when Runed with Well of Darkness. This however is your only option for killing Damage Reflect monsters as you are unlikely to have enough damage to "tank" them with Smoke Screen.


Concerning Caltrops - Some players prefer Caltrops to Vault, but I personally feel that is more difficult when starting Inferno. While Caltrops can be good in multiplayer when you need to avoid damage AND stay near the group, it's not always going to hit all the enemies. Using Vault moves you away from them in the direction you choose which is easier and more reliable than luring them onto a Caltrop. Additionally, Caltrops can't get you out of a corner/wall.


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Low Crit Build
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aRdXVg!eaT!YabZcb
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New Passive: Sharpshooter

+Hatred
Hungering Arrow - Devouring Arrow

-Hatred
Elemental Arrow - Ball Lightning

Mobility
Vault - Tumble (alt Acrobatics)

Utility
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Preparation - Backup Plan
Shadow Power - Well of Darkness

This is an alternate to the previous build. If your Crit Chance is extremely low somehow (less than 25%), this build may work better for you until you can get better gear.

Remember it will be more important to ensure you shoot an Elemental Arrow FIRST, because your 100% Crit goes away AFTER the first Crit happens. Shooting off a Devouring Arrow at the start will waste what could have been a higher damage critical Elemental Arrow hit.

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Trap Burst Build
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aRSXVg!eaY!cacZcb
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+Hatred
Hungering Arrow - Spray of Teeth (alt Devouring Arrow)

-Hatred
Elemental Arrow - Ball Lightning
Spike Trap - Scatter

Utility
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Preparation - Backup Plan
Shadow Power - Well of Darkness

Once you are better at avoiding damage, especially with kiting (knowing when to run and in which direction), you can consider converting to this build which affords you one of the most excellent single target burst ability available: Spike Trap - Scatter.

Spike Trap deals 275% damage to all enemies within 8 yards when it detonates. Scatter lets you place all 3 traps at once, but still only pay 30 Hatred. That's 825% damage for 30 Hatred (27.5 damage per point of Hatred).

The goal of Spike Trap is to set it down when you are (relatively) safe. It's very important to place them correctly to maximize effectiveness. You always want to place them in a narrow gap such as stairs, a thin hallway, or a bridge because this will force the traps to drop on top of each other. THEN start firing off your Elemental Arrows to pull the enemies back into your traps. The real gain here is that you DON'T have to "pay for" these Spike Traps with "time in combat". This is especially good for you because Attack Speed gear is likely out of your price range.

Note - You don't have to avoid using Spike Traps out in the open, simply cast them PERPENDICULAR to your enemy to make them into a vertical line rather than a horizontal line. Then lure them over all three in a row.

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Explosive Build
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#bPTXVg!eah!YZZZcb
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New Passive: Ballistics

+Hatred
Entangling Shot - Justice is Served

-Hatred
Cluster Arrow - Shooting Stars

Utility
Companion - Bat
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Preparation - Backup Plan
Shadow Power - Well of Darkness

If you can't stand how slow Ball Lightning is, or just need a change of pace, this explosive build can be quite fun.

You're primary damage ability is Cluster Arrow - Shooting Stars. Combined with the Ballistics passive this is a fun and attractive build. While an expensive 50 Hatred, Cluster Arrow deals 200% damage on impact plus and additional 262.5% damage x 3 rockets for a total of 987.5% damage per strike. The most excellent part is that the rockets seek out targets (which CAN be the primary target if alone). However, in order to support such an expensive damage ability, you're going to need a lot of Hatred.

You'll be using Entangling Shot - Justice is Served for your Hatred generation. A whopping 6 Hatred per slowing strike, you'll be relying on this to slow the more beefy enemies. It only hits one target, but you won't have to worry about lots of little enemies because they'll all be dead from Cluster Arrows.

The Bat Companion will be absolutely necessary for the extra 3 Hatred per second in order to support such an expensive main damage ability.

If you enjoy this build, it's a good idea to look for a quiver that has Hatred regen as well if you don't already have one.

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Discipline Regen
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#WQdXTg!eaY!YbbZZY
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+Hatred
Bola Shot - Bitter Pill

-Hatred
Multishot - Suppression Fire

Mobility
Vault - Tumble

Utility
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Companion - Bat
Shadow Power - Well of Darkness

This build is all about keeping your Discipline pool completely full all the time. This build can really be a lot of fun.

In order to get the most out of this build, your attack order will be as follows: First use a move that costs Discipline to give you an advantage, then hit as many enemies as you can with Multishot to get most if not all of the Discipline back.
You will fill up all of the space in between with Bola Shots that have a 15% chance to regen 2 Discipline.

This gives you an extremely large number of strategic options between Vault, Smoke Screen, and Shadow Power. You can "Smoke Screen tank" for much longer, you can travel across the battlefield incredibly fast with Vault, and you can survive against almost anything with Shadow Power - Gloom.

Remember, it's important to use all this Discipline to your advantage. Your damage will be lower than other builds, and if you don't properly spend then regen Discipline in order, you'll fall on your face. Don't forget that sometimes Vaulting away from elites to blast 12 white enemies with Multishot twice in a row will regen a ton of Discipline. This is a very "out of the box" style build, and is not suited to all people.

If you really want to see this build shine, save up your money for high DPS 1-hand crossbows down the road with Life on Hit. Additionally, when you finally get enough money to start buying Attack Speed gear, this build will skyrocket in sustainability.

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Life Steal Build
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aRSXjV!eaY!cccZYc
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+Hatred
Hungering Arrow - Spray of Teeth (alt Devouring Arrow)

-Hatred
Elemental Arrow - Nether Tentacles

Mobility
Vault - Tumble (alt Acrobatics)

Utility
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy
Preparation - Backup Plan

When you finally can afford to get a weapon with Lifesteal (and perhaps even Life on Hit as well), you can convert to this build. You won't need Shadow Power to fight the damage reflect elites and fill in the gaps between your potions anymore, so you are free to add a very useful utility move: Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy.

Not only does this increase your damage on a single target by 12% but it gives you an additional 3 Hatred back every time you hit that target. And the cost? Only 3 Discipline.

This will effectively speed up your killing two-fold with more damage and more Hatred to spend.

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**** Section 2b - Advanced Builds
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These builds tend to require more finesse and practice to execute effectively, however once you've learned how to master them they can be very powerful.

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Artillery Build
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#bPjXVY!eaY!YYYZcY
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+Hatred
Entangling Shot - Justice is Served

-Hatred
Cluster Arrow - Cluster Bombs

Utility
Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy (alt. Companion - Bat)
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Preparation - Backup Plan
Caltrops - Carved Stakes

The goal of this build is to leverage the incredibly powerful Cluster Bombs which each deal 230% damage. This is a difficult ability to master as it's short range and slow moving, however the damage out put is phenomenal.

Entangling Shot serves the dual purpose of control via slow and rapid Hatred regen. Combined with effective use of Marked for Death - Mortal Enemy, and you'll have plenty of Hatred for expensive Cluster Bombs.

Because Cluster Bombs are so slow, you'll need to have good control of the enemies' positions. Lots of cheap Caltrops due to Carved Stakes combined with Entangling Shot can help you create clumps of slow moving enemies just waiting to be massacred by your Cluster Bombs.

Don't forget that a heavy hitting Crossbow or Bow will work best with this setup. Don't try this with a Hand Crossbow.

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Crit Cannon Build
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/demon-hunter#aRSXVY!eaY!cYcZcc
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+Hatred
Hungering Arrow - Spray of Teeth (alt Devouring Arrow)

-Hatred
Elemental Arrow - Lightning Bolts
Spike Trap - Scatter (alt. Companion - Bat)

Utility
Smoke Screen - Lingering Fog
Preparation - Backup Plan
Caltrops - Bait the Trap

This build relies on high Crit and Attack Speed to maximize the usefulness of Lightning Bolts' stun-on-crit. You'll need to be using a Hand Crossbow for the bonus 10% crit from Archery, and should have over 40% crit chance including the Archery bonus. You'll want to have close to 2.0 attack speed if possible.

Your goal will be to spam as many Lightning Bolts as possible from withing a Caltrop (as Bait the Trap give an additional 10% crit chance when standing on a Caltrop). Don't be afraid to lay a couple Caltrops and move around between them. You don't want to be a totally stationary turret, but you want to try and be shooting from within a Caltrop if possible. You can often completely stunlock enemies until you run out of Hatred.

You'll want to lay down some Spike Traps in front of the position you'll be turreting from to take out anyone who breaks through the hail of Lightning Bolts. If you find yourself running out of Hatred too often, try switching out Spike Traps for the Bat Companion. Remember though, this will weaken your defensive options when turreting.

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**** Section 3 - Fighting Elites
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Now is the hard part: going out and actually using all that gear you bought and all those abilities you picked properly. You won't do it at first, Inferno is very unforgiving. But with a big Discipline pool and a load of survival skills you'll learn how and when to use each of the abilities.

Here are a few tips to make the learning process easier.
  • You don't have to fight EVERY group of elites. There are certain combinations of Affixes that will utterly destroy you. If you see a pack with "Fast" or "Invulnerable Minions", move on.
  • Turn on Health Bars in the game options so you can tell if an elite is low and then kill him first.
  • Don't stand still. Elites have all kinds of stuff they can throw at you, but a lot of it can simply be avoided if you keep moving. Learn to look for the gaps where you can get a hit in and make it count.
  • Don't run into undiscovered territory. You'll just get yourself killed. Run back to where you've already cleared.
  • Kite enemies into narrow gaps where your abilities can hit more than one at a time.
  • When in doubt, use Smoke Screen. As you get used to the kind of attacks enemies can do (and die to them a lot), you'll learn which ones are dangerous.
  • At times when kiting you'll come to a dead end. It WILL happen. Vault over the enemies or Smoke Screen past them and start going the other way. Don't make a "last stand" in the corner. Davy Crockett made a last stand and look how that turned out.
  • When you die, don't mash the respawn button, take the time to assess the situation. Did you READ what affixes those elites have? Probably not, because you're dead. Are one or more of them low health? If so, it might be worth it to respawn and charge in quickly. If not, it might be better to clear more space.
  • You know all those health globes you drink like Koolaid? Stop it. If you're not missing any health, leave them on the ground. You aren't losing anything, and you can kite elites back to them and have a much easier time.


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**** Section 4 Helpful Resources
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Ace's Demon Hunter best in slot end game items thread recommended by Obscene!
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5235401029

Delekii's Damage reduction and DPS Calculator can help you plan your damage.
https://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5590648174

Effective Health Calculator to help you plan your Vit/Armor/Resist recommended by Daemonjax!
http://rubensayshi.github.com/d3-ehp-calculator/#intro

Takku's collection of Demon Hunter skill builds can give you ideas for new play styles.
http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4211084471

Cloud's Nightmare Gold Farming Guide can help you farm up to 500k/hour.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5826782673

Heartbourne's Real Money Auction House: Analysis of Fees, Market Forces, and Strategy
http://lorehound.com/news/diablo-iii-real-money-auction-house-analysis-of-fees-market-forces-and-strategy-part-1/

This Item Stats Maximum Values chart can help you know what to look for when upgrading your gear:
http://www.d3rmt.com/guides/diablo-3-item-stat-maximum-values/

*** SPOILERS *** A secret level that may or may not exist............... could possibly be learned of here. http://soe.hubpages.com/hub/Whimsyshire-The-Secret-Pony-Level-Guide-Diablo-3

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**** Conclusion
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Inferno is fun because it's tough, but it can be hard to know exactly what to do when you're getting started. Hopefully this information will make it easier for players that are new to Inferno to get started.

A special thanks to all of the great people that post information on how to use abilities, what builds to try, and what tactics to use against the tougher elites. I never could have come up with all this information on my own. I just put all the pieces together.

If you like this guide, vote it up and request a sticky so other players can get a chance to read it too!
Edited by SilverSeraph#1630 on 7/4/2012 7:33 PM PDT
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**** Comments, Questions, and Answers
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This section will be a quick reference for the most popular question and answers throughout the thread as well as comments and advice. The goal being to bring these helpful details to the top of the first page so that you don't have to scroll through page after page to find out if your question has been answered already.

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Concerning Gear Requirements

thanks for the guide. however, i think people should not be discouraged from entering inferno with lower stats.

i am through the spider queen with a 573 dps xbow. i will likely farm the spider queen with 5 stacks for a bit then keep progressing forward. i dont buy from the ah so i am taking a slow and steady approach.

i run a fairly standard build with hungering arrow (devour), ele arrow (nt), spike trap (scatter), prep (30% chance to reset), ss (ling fog), and caltrops (with stun).

passives are arch, tact adv, and ss.


Thanks for the feedback Tryst. I think you're absolutely right. There's no "requirement" for playing on Inferno, and some players may do just fine with a 500 DPS weapon.

Most of what is in the guide is geared for people who are having trouble, especially with elites. Hopefully some of the guide is still relevant and helpful to you and other players that choose the auction-free approach.

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Concerning Auction House Prices

06/13/2012 04:53 PMPosted by Cydonia
I really am not trying to complain. However, when i search for 2 hand bows as you describe, all of the options are in the millions, not 200k...=(


Cydonia, I'm sorry for your trouble. Are you on the US servers? Here's a screenshot of my filters. See if this works for you. Don't forget to set maximum buyout in the bottom to 200,000.

http://i45.tinypic.com/11lmz34.png

Also, are you lower than level 60? If so I believe the Auction House will try to help you out by not showing you level 60 gear. Remember, if you are below 60 filter by only level 60 - 60 weapons and add "Reduce Level Requirement" to the filters. Those items are going to be more expensive, but something with 1-2 level reduction should still be affordable.

Here is another screenshot showing how you would filter if you are level 58. I hope this helps clear up the confusion!

LINK EXPIRED

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Concerning Preparation Runes

Backup plan over battle scars?

I'm not sure I really follow the need for Shadow Power. Do I really need to fill a slot as a contingency against "reflect" enemies? Are these just all over the place in Inferno or something?

I'll grant you that I've not started Inferno yet. I'm still in Hell. I just don't really follow the why.


Backup Plan vs Battle Scars is more of a personal choice. Typically I find that I'm either going to out maneuver and kill the elites, or they're going to overwhelm me, I run out of Discipline and I will die. I rarely have any issues where one extra heal would make the difference. And if that were the case, then I could Shadow Power my way through several times, then Preparation and Shadow Power again.

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Concerning Armor and Resistances

06/14/2012 04:21 PMPosted by Crescen
What about All Resists for the Demon Hunter?


Thanks for the question Crescen. As this has been asked a few times, I'll try to provide some input here.

The intention of this guide is to get players introduced to Inferno, especially if they are struggling, and one element that is essential to consider is gear.

While it's true that increasing your Armor and Resistances is important, this really becomes more true in Act II rather than Act I. Now it's certainly not a bad idea to get some Armor and Resistances for Act I, but it does add extra cost. Unfortunately, if you don't have much money to gear up with, you'll end up losing a significant amount of damage trying to boost your defense.

Now I don't think the 9000 hitpoint glass cannon route is the answer here. But I do think it's important to focus on what you need to learn. That's why for learning on Act I, I recommend Vitality. It's relatively cheap compared to Armor and Resistances, and can still help you survive a couple hits.

So remember, the main goals when you start Inferno are:
1. Becoming capable of doing enough damage (via gear), and learning how to apply that damage to the enemy (via skills/runes/practice)
2. Becoming capable of avoiding death, primarily using increased Discipline (via gear) and learning how to use that Discipline to control both yourself and the enemy (via skills/runes/practice).

Hope that clears up some of the questions regarding resistances in Act I.

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Concerning Caltrops

Caltrops. I love my Caltrops w/ Jagged Spikes. I am still dealing SOME damage to monsters even while i'm running around/away. I've even ran Inferno Elite packs in circles dropping caltrops as my main damage use vs. Mortar mobs, with finishing shots with 1h Xbows. (( Cannot stutter-step right, see below) Something teleports onto me, i "ink myself" with a caltrop and Smoke away. I see, by this guide, how i could also Caltrop and Vault away. I'm aware of the glass cannon builds, and I'm resisting extreme glass cannon as most Inferno people suggest.


As for Caltrops, it is certainly a good ability, in fact a very good ability. There are a couple reason why I recommend Vault over Caltrops for putting distance between yourself and enemies when first learning Inferno.

First, Vault gains a bonus from Tactical Advantage giving you extra distance and time. When you're learning Inferno and everything can kill you nearly instantly, it can help to have a moment to consider your options.

Second, I would consider Caltrops a more advanced skill. You need to plan where and when to use it. You need to already know where it is needed, Caltrops is not an escape ability in my book. It's like Spike Trap. Tremendously powerful if you know where to put it, and only good if you understand the enemies you are fighting. Most people starting Inferno are first and foremost, beginning a learning experience.

Once players are more comfortable with the elites, I think Caltrops can be just as good if not better than Vault. But I still don't recommend it during the learning phase.

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Concerning the Need for Vitality

06/13/2012 07:06 PMPosted by Void
Really nice guide, although I don't really understand the emphasis on Vitality. It does absolutely nothing at all for you in Act 3 and Act 4. Demon Hunters do not have any passives or "buffs" to reduce incoming damage like every other class, we just have SP and SS, which are ruled by Discipline. Vitality might matter after they reduce the incoming damage past Act 1, but for now it's a trash stat and you're better off going for even more offensive if you can swing it. You don't need more Vitality to easily beat The Butcher, you need to be able to cast SS more.


Thanks for the feedback Void. The main focus of this guide is for learning how to start playing on Inferno difficulty and fighting elites. While Acts 3 and 4 might totally negate Vitality, I still think it's a good way to help ease players into Inferno. Being able to survive 2 or 3 hits in Act 1 is somewhat less frustrating than getting 1-shot. In essence, I think the extra Vitality will help speed up the learning process by making Act 1 a tad more forgiving.

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Concerning Hand Crossbows

Hand Crossbow: I've got a nice 800dps Rare one, +1 Discipline, + Attack Speed, Socket, with some Dex and Vit. it's low stats, but got me through Hell very easy. It was a steal off the Auction, but i don't have that gold anymore. It also got me through Inferno Act I ... nearly useless for ActII start, as i dont even get a shot off. I need to continue to dual-use with another crossbow because i cannot get a good quiver. WITH using Sharpshooter, i hold about 30k DPS, with baseline +16% Crit without it.


You certainly can use a 1-hand xbow and get by. Most people can't afford an 800 DPS one, but if you already have one you're over that hurdle. The place where 1-hand crossbows shine is really with their attack speed and bonus to crit from Archery. Now attack speed is somewhat less useful when kiting than flat damage. The crit chance is more valuable based on the rest of your gear. With a top notch set boosting crit damage and dexterity, the 10% crit chance is much more valuable. Most people don't have those kind of stats starting Inferno, so it's often better to start with a higher DPS 2-hand. Add onto that the fact that when you first are learning Inferno you tend to spend more time kiting and less time doing damage. When you learn the timing windows for where you can squeeze in extra attacks, then the 1-hand xbows become more attractive.

That said, lets consider another important trade off between 2-hand and 1-hand crossbows:

Apart from certain legendaries, ONLY 1h Crossbows have a Discipline bonus eg. "+10 Maximum Discipline". If you used just one 1h with a quiver or two 1h crossbows, 20 Discipline is a significant increase, and will boost your survivability dramatically.


As Ibsane correctly points out, you can get an extra 10 Discipline from a Hand Crossbow. Combine that with either a second 1-hander or a quiver that also has +10 Disc and you're sitting with 20 Disc from your weapons alone. If you're feeling comfortable with your DPS (not less than 30k in my opinion), then you can consider switching to a Hand Crossbow. Try to find one over 800 DPS with + Max Discipline as well as either a Socket or Critical Damage. You're going to need to make up for the lower damage with more valuable crits (especially because with Archery you'll be getting 10% more of them).

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Concerning "Stutterstep"

Can anyone describe the mechanics of using mouse/keyboard to play a DemonHunter well? I don't have the "knack" for the stutter step. Shall I increase my mouse sensitivity? Is a slower attack speed slowing my animation to where I cannot make that stutter? Is computer build slowing me down, or is it the game lag? Do I hotkey a "move" key as well as a Force StandStill key ? (i've re-bound the 1-2-3-4 skill keys to Q-W-E-F, and A key is my force stand key, not shift)


Stutterstep is not an incredibly difficult concept, but takes time to learn to do well. If an enemy is above you, would shoot at him, then the instant the shot appears click below you. Half a second later you hold shift and click above you at the same time, then click below you again as the projectile appears. How quickly you can execute this will depend on your attack speed. Don't forget, the goal is not to ALWAYS stutterstep. Sometimes backing off and chaining Nether Tentacles is better. It's just one tool in your box.

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Concerning Evasive Fire

The only thing that I have done differently, is I place Evasive Fire with the "Multi Shot" (forget the name) rune on it, in my primary left click ability. 4 Hatred Regeneration, I hit three mobs instantly rather than with a delay on a Hungering Arrow. This ability is also able to shoot straight through the Walls that elites put up, and small 'mounds' that you generally find yourself kiting around. If you have not tried this, I suggest it. The backflip along with the Passive ability for the +40% speed boost thereafter is a life saver as well, and a cheaper boost for movement speed. It helps out in a GREAT WAY against those pesty lizards that are invisible until they are already hitting you. Give this a shot instead of Hungering Arrow, and I think you will find that you like it. And use it before it is nerfed, I say. Because it definitely will be in my opinion. Not to mention it guarantees that you are untouched by the pesky little white mobs that you inevitably run into while kiting elites (especially in the Oasis).


I wholeheartedly agree that Evasive Fire is amazing. However it is absolutely not easy to use. It FEELS easy once you've practiced for a while, but it's an advanced skill in my book. I definitely recommend this move for maximum mobility AFTER a player had their feet wet in Act I. Players should be comfortable with all the other abilities on their bar so that they can focus on learning this one. It sounds like you are already on Act II, ntensive and have taken the time to learn how to be effective with Evasive Fire. Not an insignificant feat!

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Concerning DPS and Build Choice

06/14/2012 06:45 AMPosted by raynr
I just wanna say, thanks for this guide Seraph. I'm currently farming Butcher with ease after gearing up based on the guide. I was using the low crit build for a while, but recently switched to the explosive build, my NEW FAVORITE BUILD. This build is awesome, I'll crit for 100k even though I have only 25k dps. My question is, is the dps between the builds about the same? I find myself launching two cluster bombs before having to regen hatred using entangling shot. It feels like I'm getting more damage output from the explosive build. Thanks again!


I'm glad you found the guide helpful, and thanks for the positive feedback!

To answer your question, no the damage is not the same for each build. The reason is twofold.

First, different builds rely on different stats to varying degrees. You can try all of the builds I've listed, and you'll fare decently with the starter gear I've laid out, but to excel with any one build, you must tailor your stats to synergize with it. For instance the explosive build is very bursty but very expensive. Gear with Hatred regen is a big help, and crit damage also goes a long way here. If your crit damage gets high enough, switching from Steady Aim to Sharpshooter can be a good choice.

Now on top of that, play style is an extremely relevant as well. Some players will do better with high mobility, while others will make more effective use of chaining and stutterstep, and still others are better suited to controlling enemies with slows like Entangling Shot and Caltrops. A lot of it is what you enjoy because you'll be motivated to learn all the little tricks that make that build work.

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Concerning the Need for Shadow Power

nice guide, one thing i dont understand is the use of shadow power in all your builds?

what for? it takes up the same resource as smokescreen, and is inferior to smokescreen.

other than that, good guide for people to start out.

also, i thought about the infinite disc regen build, but found it to be ineffective due to low dps.
plus if you can get to 50+disc (i am at 57), and use prep with invigoration you have over 120 disc pool total.

in all your builds, i would strongly suggest dropping shadow power for RoV/stampede.


Thanks for your feedback, and excellent question. Unfortunately it's because of Damage Reflect monsters. With there being a limited number of affixes and four on each elite, Damage Reflect is just more common than in lower difficulties. Players new to Inferno typically don't have enough money to buy a Lifesteal or life on hit weapon. Now to be fair, you can always skip them, or if your DPS is high enough you can chain SS invulnerability. But a lot of players struggle with DPS early on in Inferno as well and can't kill the elites before SS eats their Discipline pool. Remember that they aren't always going to use the 1.5 seconds perfectly to maximize DPS. Shadow Power affords them double that amount of time, for cheaper if they have Well rune.

Now on to your point. Once you get the hang of Inferno, you can absolutely drop Shadow Power if you don't need it. Many players can get away with SS tanking. I personally carry a Manticore with Lifesteal, 500 Life on Hit, and only 870 DPS, I can swap to it for Reflect elites and don't have to take Shadow Power. But it's still a good skill when you're starting Inferno.

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Concerning Kiting

the kiting problem for me is that the elite mobs always run faster than me,
it seems like no matter how fast i run, they still catch me behind and pull me back to them ,

I chage my boot to the ones with 9% movement speed.
but still cannot get out their way pull back ...

Any idea how can i solve this ???? Really appreciate for your help


Thanks for the question, DemaciaBin.

There are a couple of things you can do here. First of all, check the elite's affixes before engaging. If they have the "Fast" affix, you're probably better off just avoiding them altogether. They can be extremely difficult to beat and usually aren't worth the repair bill.

If the elites don't have the "Fast" affix you have a number of kiting options. Often the biggest life-saver is the combination of Smoke Screen + Tactical Advantage. This is your single best chance to escape from Vortex, Jailer, and Teleporting elites. If you have 50 Discipline (due to + Max Discipline on weapon/quiver/chest), you should be able to SS eight times total: four at first, then use Preparation, and then four more times.

Alternately, you can try using Entangling Shot or Evasive Fire, though Evasive Fire is the harder of the two to learn. Both of these have a number of excellent runes and provide a great boost to kiting ability, most importantly with NO discipline cost!

Finally, you can use Caltrops if you find you're always running out of space. Caltrops are easy to use, but hard to use well. They work best in small areas like doorways and hallways because it's easy to hit as many enemies as you can with them. You can also lay them along the edge of impassable terrain as you circle around it. Your goal is to make sure you drag all the elites through the Caltrops giving you the maximum amount of time to hit as many of them as you can as many times as possible before laying another Caltrops. All of the Caltrops runes are excellent, but I recommend Carved Spikes or Torturous Stakes first as they're the most beginner friendly.

I hope you find this helpful, and good luck!

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More to come!
Edited by SilverSeraph#1630 on 7/2/2012 11:52 AM PDT
thanks for the guide. however, i think people should not be discouraged from entering inferno with lower stats.

i am through the spider queen with a 573 dps xbow. i will likely farm the spider queen with 5 stacks for a bit then keep progressing forward. i dont buy from the ah so i am taking a slow and steady approach.

i run a fairly standard build with hungering arrow (devour), ele arrow (nt), spike trap (scatter), prep (30% chance to reset), ss (ling fog), and caltrops (with stun).

passives are arch, tact adv, and ss.
I don't "request a sticky" blizzard, I demand it!
100 Dwarf Shaman
10080
Posts: 1
I really am not trying to complain. However, when i search for 2 hand bows as you describe, all of the options are in the millions, not 200k...=(
thanks for the guide. however, i think people should not be discouraged from entering inferno with lower stats.

i am through the spider queen with a 573 dps xbow. i will likely farm the spider queen with 5 stacks for a bit then keep progressing forward. i dont buy from the ah so i am taking a slow and steady approach.

i run a fairly standard build with hungering arrow (devour), ele arrow (nt), spike trap (scatter), prep (30% chance to reset), ss (ling fog), and caltrops (with stun).

passives are arch, tact adv, and ss.


Thanks for the feedback Tryst. I think you're absolutely right. There's no "requirement" for playing on Inferno, and some players may do just fine with a 500 DPS weapon.

Most of what is in the guide is geared for people who are having trouble, especially with elites. Hopefully some of the guide is still relevant and helpful to you and other players that choose the auction-free approach.
06/13/2012 04:53 PMPosted by Cydonia
I really am not trying to complain. However, when i search for 2 hand bows as you describe, all of the options are in the millions, not 200k...=(


I agree :(
06/13/2012 04:53 PMPosted by Cydonia
I really am not trying to complain. However, when i search for 2 hand bows as you describe, all of the options are in the millions, not 200k...=(


Cydonia, I'm sorry for your trouble. Are you on the US servers? Here's a screenshot of my filters. See if this works for you. Don't forget to set maximum buyout in the bottom to 200,000.

http://i45.tinypic.com/11lmz34.png

EDIT: Just thought of this. Are you lower than level 60? If so I believe the Auction House will try to help you out by not showing you level 60 gear. Remember, if you are below 60 filter by only level 60 - 60 weapons and add "Reduce Level Requirement" to the filters. Those items are going to be more expensive, but something with 1-2 level reduction should still be affordable.

EDIT 2: Here is another screenshot showing how you would filter if you are level 58. I hope this helps clear up the confusion!

http://i50.tinypic.com/2mo5jwn.png
Edited by SilverSeraph#1630 on 6/13/2012 5:06 PM PDT
Backup plan over battle scars?

I'm not sure I really follow the need for Shadow Power. Do I really need to fill a slot as a contingency against "reflect" enemies? Are these just all over the place in Inferno or something?

Also, currently I run both vault and caltrops. You see this as a flaw I guess? Why?

No rain of vengeance/ stampede? That power has saved my !@# I know not how often.

I'll grant you that I've not started Inferno yet. I'm still in Hell. I just don't really follow the why.
Edited by Huntsman57#1356 on 6/13/2012 5:24 PM PDT
Hopefully in your Inferno 102 guide, you'll get on about +resistance gear. IMHO, the gear and ability recommendations listed here will get you slaughtered in Act II. For Act I this is fine but the butchers chains will still 1-shot you.
Backup plan over battle scars?

I'm not sure I really follow the need for Shadow Power. Do I really need to fill a slot as a contingency against "reflect" enemies? Are these just all over the place in Inferno or something?

I'll grant you that I've not started Inferno yet. I'm still in Hell. I just don't really follow the why.


Backup Plan vs Battle Scars is more of a personal choice. Typically I find that I'm either going to out maneuver and kill the elites, or they're going to overwhelm me, I run out of Discipline and I will die. I rarely have any issues where one extra heal would make the difference. And if that were the case, then I could Shadow Power my way through several times, then Preparation and Shadow Power again.

As for the need for Shadow Power, perhaps I'm just horribly unlucky but with elites having 4 affixes, Damage Reflect always seems to show up. That aside, I find I don't have trouble beating the other elites with Shadow Power using up a slot, but I absolutely do have trouble with those Damage Reflect ones.

Hope that clears things up. As always though, a lot of Diablo is personal preference. So use what works for you. =D
06/13/2012 05:25 PMPosted by gotReef
Hopefully in your Inferno 102 guide, you'll get on about +resistance gear. IMHO, the gear and ability recommendations listed here will get you slaughtered in Act II. For Act I this is fine but the butchers chains will still 1-shot you.


gotReef, thanks for the feedback. Yes, the guide is indeed geared toward getting started with Inferno in Act I. I currently am only half way through Act II with 100 resistance in most categories, so I'm not in a position to write a guide for that yet. Once I finish testing what works and what doesn't, perhaps a 102 guide will be in order.
Well this helped me I was stacking attack speed and got wrecked in act 2-3 still. Vit does seem VERY useless compared to resist all though.
06/13/2012 05:22 PMPosted by Huntsman57
I'm not sure I really follow the need for Shadow Power. Do I really need to fill a slot as a contingency against "reflect" enemies? Are these just all over the place in Inferno or something?

Caveat: This is only based upon my personal experience.
The last run I did, 3 of my 5 NV stacks had elites with Reflect Damage. Does that mean it appears 60% of the time? No, but it shows up enough that I've dedicated a slot just for that affix. Additionally, with enough resist, you can pop SP/Gloom and face tank instead of being forced to kite everything.


Also, currently I run both vault and caltrops. You see this as a flaw I guess? Why?

I hate vault. Actually, I love vault but I don't feel it's useful enough to keep. It's currently bugged where you can be hit during the animation. A lot of things can ruin you in a single shot so it's vastly inferior to SS as far as an "oh sh!t" button. I like caltrops because it allows you to plan kiting/contingency routes ahead of time and allows to get distance on faster mobs.


No rain of vengeance/ stampede? That power has saved my !@# I know not how often.

I like it. Had to drop that one too though. Good ability, we just have better and a very limited bar.

@ SilveSeraph
I agree that getting disc up should be a priority; however, it might be helpful to suggest ideas on how to decide how much disc to stack. I like to think of my disc pool as "how many times can I SS in a row". SS costs 14 disc w/o runing or perf. Also consider that base disc regen is 1 disc/sec so in actuality, the cost is 12.5 disc for duration (using lingering fog, and god knows why you would pick anything else). So with 50, you can cast 4 back-to-back SS. For me this is the magic number as it gives 8 SS with prep.
Edited by gotReef#1993 on 6/13/2012 5:56 PM PDT
Outstanding guide thanks alot
I agree that getting disc up should be a priority; however, it might be helpful to suggest ideas on how to decide how much disc to stack. I like to think of my disc pool as "how many times can I SS in a row". SS costs 14 disc w/o runing or perf. Also consider that base disc regen is 1 disc/sec so in actuality, the cost is 12.5 disc for duration (using lingering fog, and god knows why you would pick anything else). So with 50, you can cast 4 back-to-back SS. For me this is the magic number as it gives 8 SS with prep.


I couldn't have stated this better myself, so I added it as a quote to the guide. Thanks for all of your feedback and constructive criticism gotReef.

As for Caltrops, it is certainly a good ability, in fact a very good ability. There are a couple reason why I recommend Vault over Caltrops for putting distance between yourself and enemies when first learning Inferno.

First, Vault gains a bonus from Tactical Advantage giving you extra distance and time. When you're learning Inferno and everything can kill you nearly instantly, it can help to have a moment to consider your options.

Second, I would consider Caltrops a more advanced skill. You need to plan where and when to use it. You need to already know where it is needed, Caltrops is not an escape ability in my book. It's like Spike Trap. Tremendously powerful if you know where to put it, and only good if you understand the enemies you are fighting. Most people starting Inferno are first and foremost, beginning a learning experience.

Once players are more comfortable with the elites, I think Caltrops can be just as good if not better than Vault. But I still don't recommend it during the learning phase.

This is an excellent discussion by the way.
Posts: 1,513
Really nice guide, although I don't really understand the emphasis on Vitality. It does absolutely nothing at all for you in Act 3 and Act 4. Demon Hunters do not have any passives or "buffs" to reduce incoming damage like every other class, we just have SP and SS, which are ruled by Discipline. Vitality might matter after they reduce the incoming damage past Act 1, but for now it's a trash stat and you're better off going for even more offensive if you can swing it. You don't need more Vitality to easily beat The Butcher, you need to be able to cast SS more.
Edited by Nevermore#1419 on 6/13/2012 7:07 PM PDT
06/13/2012 07:06 PMPosted by Void
Really nice guide, although I don't really understand the emphasis on Vitality. It does absolutely nothing at all for you in Act 3 and Act 4. Demon Hunters do not have any passives or "buffs" to reduce incoming damage like every other class, we just have SP and SS, which are ruled by Discipline. Vitality might matter after they reduce the incoming damage past Act 1, but for now it's a trash stat and you're better off going for even more offensive if you can swing it. You don't need more Vitality to easily beat The Butcher, you need to be able to cast SS more.


Thanks for the feedback Void. The main focus of this guide is for learning how to start playing on Inferno difficulty and fighting elites. While Acts 3 and 4 might totally negate Vitality, I still think it's a good way to help ease players into Inferno. Being able to survive 2 or 3 hits in Act 1 is somewhat less frustrating than getting 1-shot. In essence, I think the extra Vitality will help speed up the learning process by making Act 1 a tad more forgiving.
Thanks not in inferno yet with my DH but soon and i think this should be very helpful!
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