Hello, my fellow demon hunters! So far, I would have to call this thread a pretty big success! Tons of great responses from you guys.
If anyone at all needs advice on where to go with their build, I will do my best to help. I can't claim mastery of the DH by any stretch, so take my advice, think about it, research it, simulate it, ask more people, whatever! I'll try to point you in the right direction and clear up any confusion or sources of concern. Please note that I'm currently in university, so my time isn't unlimited. I won't be sitting on the forum constantly refreshing the page, but I do check periodically when I can. So if you don't see a response right away, check back later! I will get around to it, I promise. What I'd really like is for you guys to give this post a read, give it some thought and come back to me with more specific questions. I feel like the descriptions I've given should be able to direct a bunch of you in the right direction. I definitely don't mind giving general advice, but I do prefer more specific questions after you've put some thought to it.
As a test to make sure I'd be able to give good advice for new DHs or lower budget DHs, I tried to make the best build I could for under 100m in a build simulator using real items at their buyout prices. My sample build cost me about 75m, including gems (and that was adding a few million here and there if I felt any prices might be a bit higher). As of December 3, 2012, every piece on here was 5m or less. The result? My build had 140k unbuffed DPS (175k with archery, steady aim and scoundrel), 440k eHP, 55k life, 46% CC, 400% CD and 1.77 attacks per second. While I recognize that 75m might not be available to everybody, I feel that it is a very reasonable cost for such a build and fairly indicative of what I can come up with under a budget that many people can afford.
Having said all of this, please post your questions or requests for an evaluation. I'll happily take a look and see what I can suggest. Before you ask me though, take a look below. I've posted a link to the build I made. Take a look at that build and read the logic behind what I did and why it works. It might help you see places where you could improve, or even give you a template to follow for your own build! There have been two people who I've spoken to who have followed this build and both said they love it.
As another self-evaluation tool, I'm going to walk you through exactly what I do when I look at your build. I assure you, there is no magic to it!
I always start every build by putting your battletag into diabloprogress.com. This website lays out everything relating to your build. This includes your unbuffed DPS, eHP, resists, life, AS, CD, CC - everything important!
Once I have your profile loaded, I look at your eHP and DPS first. I always hope to see eHP around 250k. For those who don't know, eHP stands for effective hit points. It basically is the combined mitigating ability of your character. This includes HP, armour, resists, dodge chance, etc., all combined to show how much actual damage an enemy needs to put out to kill you.
If I feel your eHP is too low, I will generally check your life and resists. I want to see your life at least 35k. If your eHP is suffering, I'll be looking to see at least 300-400 AR. Some of you may note that my resists are actually less than 300, yet I have over 400k eHP. The reason this works is because I have rather high armour and dodge chance. This leads me to my next comment - armour. If your eHP is too low and your armour is like 2k, that is a problem. A good number for armour is 3k+.
Once eHP has been sorted, look at your CC, CD and AS. If you're a 2H crossbow user, I'm hoping to see somewhere around 300% CD, 40-45% CC, and around 1.7 attacks per second (all unbuffed). If you're a bow user, your CD will be lower since you can't have a 2 soc bow and archery won't give you the CD boost, but your AS will be higher.
If you meet all of the CD/CC/AS specifications and your DPS is still lower than I think it should be, it basically points to one thing: DEX! For a demon hunter, your dex is the fundamental damage source. That is the only thing (apart from a low damage bow, which I also check) that could be holding you back.
If you meet all of the above, then I basically will just look for the weakest link in your gear and suggest an upgrade that will maintain your eHP while increasing your DPS.
If you've managed to read this far, my god you are a trooper! Here is the build I've been referencing. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for it, please post here! I'd love to hear it.
To cater to those with much smaller budgets, I've put together a quick little build. The entire build (gems included) cost me under 800k. It's not perfect, but it's a pretty solid build for its price. If I were to do it again, I would sacrifice some CD and CC for some AS and drop some vit to increase dex. Some highlights of the build:
-57k unbuffed DPS (74k buffed)
-300k unbuffed eHP (475k with dodge)
-1.38 attacks per second
Full build and details: http://d3up.com/b/196537#gear
Note: The displayed eHP value doesn't include dodge (which is stupid). On the right hand side, click on the effective hit points button to see it's actual number. Diabloprogress uses the dodge eHP number, just so you guys know. I believe that is the proper measure since dodge is always there.
Also, if anyone is curious to see my actual gear build in a calculator, I'll post the link too.