I see a lot of DH's who have decent gear and playing skill, but are still not doing too well on high mps in the dps department. They use inefficient builds and play "wrong". This is how to do it right ;)
The problem with the classic tank build is that you get stuck with using 4+ defensive skills. Even when you get better gear you keep using the same defensive setup. You can faceroll most things which feels good, but it doesn't require much input from the player and it doesn't do enough dps. The safety becomes a crutch, you start relying too much on your character stats rather than yourself. Removing any defensive ability becomes hard, as you are used to not having to care about being hit.
On the other end of the spectrum is the glasscannon. They can do a lot of damage in bursts, but (most of them) have to kite too much or dies too much to actually be faster than or even as fast as the facetank. It does however offer a more engaging gameplay, which is what draws people too it anyway.
It's called glasstank facecannon because it combines the strength of both play styles to maximize damage output. It's the fastest high mp build I could make that's also playable. Before 1.08 it only worked well in a few areas, now we have many more to pick from. The build is made for solo play and isn't something I would chose in an unknown group. But it works in a good group. I don't think it's a very newbie friendly build. The build is viable with both Calamity and Manticore. Manticore will do higher dps, but Calamity is easier to keep up discipline with so you'll die less. I think this has been argued enough, use what you want. But WF isn't good for this. A retro chique choice is the rare crossbow.
- Imminent Doom because it's our strongest generator. Ok proc coefficient, 50%.
- Echoing Blast because it's (still) our strongest spender. Ok proc coefficient, 50% total.
- Bat companion for dps.
- Mortal Enemy for dps. It's by far the strongest MfD rune if you're using a proper spender and have skills with decent proc coefficients.
- Bait the trap for more dps and to trigger CtW.
- Gloom because it's necessary.
- Night Stalker, Archery, Cull the Weak.
You can use Perfectionist if you die too much, but it's better to try to avoid dying in other ways rather than taking the easy way out. Vengeance is an ok choice for more disc which you may need with Manticore and it also gives dps. If you chose to drop a recommended passive, CtW is the most expendable with Calamity and Archery with Manticore.
You can use Jagged Spikes instead of Bait the Trap if you are using Calamity or Vengeance. It does ok damage and helps you lifesteal when you get frozen/feared or when you need life instantly and can't wait on your delayed attack skills.
If you are not using CtW, Caltrops is expendable. With Calamity, the bat is quite expendable too.
You can pick Chain of Torment or Shuriken Cloud instead of Bat. Chain is kind of hard to use without Vault though. They both proc ME and Shuriken procs NS. Calamity users can use Vault since they have more disc, the best rune is Trail of Cinders since it has insane proc rate which ME profits from, but not NS.
But if you stray too far by replacing more than 1-2 skills you will not be playing a glasstank facecannon anymore.
I played around a bit with the skills I mentioned before and found this combo to be very synergistic. This is an easier spec thanks to vault and more disc regen, it's very fun to play but, does a bit less damage. Apart from what I bring up here it works like the main build. It doesn't work well with Calamity since it generates too much hatred to spend with it and uses two skills that doesn't scale with attack speed at all (Shuriken and ToC).
I got rid of the CtW/Caltrops combo, instead I use Vengeance to generate enough disc to vault around a lot. Vault has a 500% total proc rate, so if you roll over an enemy inflicted with ME, it generates on average 15 hatred. These skills together gives tons of hatred so bat is often redundant, instead you can use Shuriken to proc NS and ME as well as passively life steal thanks to snapshoting Shadow Power. But Shuriken is very optional.
Pick up radius is needed for this to work, can't waste time on globe hunting.
Use common sense, this build doesn't need any specialized gear.
Since you are not using any defensive skills except Gloom and NS, you want some ehp. I have around 70k/4k/400, with Manticore you don't have perma Gloom so you need be able to take a few hits. If you can't usually tank through frozen, lasers or ground effects with Gloom up, you will die a lot.
Crit chance is #1 for Manticore as you will be disc starved. Attack speed is decent for it too, but the last dps stat to get with Calamity since you don't need more disc and since it gives less edps than other damage stats.
Use soj. Even if you bought a quadfecta rare for 250$, replace it with a soj. I use Spike Traps bonus for big crit numbers but that's just for fun. It doesn't really matter, both attacks contribute about 50/50 to your dps. 1% elemental damage is worth more than 1% elite damage and 1% elite damage is worth more than 1% skill bonus. Which element it has is irrelevant with this build.
Don't sacrifice skill bonus % for attack speed or dex on quiver and chest. A bit simplified, but 10% skill damage is worth as much as 10% more total dexterity, or at least half of that considering you are using two skills. Rather an average Nat's with a decent skill bonus than a perfect Inna's.
Scoundrel with Buriza. High pierce is priority so he slows more enemies triggering CtW as much as possible. High defensive stats so he can survive. If you don't use CtW and want to play more recklessly, you can remove all his gear so that he instantly dies and mobs aren't spread out by attacking him. Whatever you do, don't give him WF.
This is the tricky part. Some things are hard to explain, tell me if if I'm unclear.
Most of act1. Festering Woods and Weeping Hollows are very good areas to start with when trying a higher mp or a new build, both easy and rewarding.
Most of act2. Oasis is fun. VotA is a good challenge (because of no vault).
Keep depths 2-3 in act3. Fields of Slaughter is pretty good too. Some areas just have too annoying enemies, not worth it.
Haven't been in a4 much yet.
1.08 is still fresh, optimized routes may come later.
Stutter stepping and kiting:
This is not only for ranged dhs. There are ways for us to use it too.
- Stutter stepping
There is already a thorough guide for this, read and watch it. You can find it in the sticky.
- Offensive kiting:
When you run/stutter back the way you came you are wasting time. But if you are running in a direction you were going to move towards later anyway, you are saving time or at least not wasting it. The distance have to be covered, you may as well do it because you run out of disc as because you run out of enemies. At first glance it looks like you are doing poorly when you do this since the elites die slower, but that's just because we are used to measuring effectiveness in kill times and of seeing people kiting the wrong way.
This can also be used to increase kill speed even when you don't have to do it. Why fight only a few mobs when you can fight many at the same time? Good example of when it's useful is when everything is dead but a few fast quillbeasts running around. A bit dangerous if you run into another elite pack, but this build isn't about being safe.
It can also be done against maniacs. Your instinct says you should run back, but running through them works just as well. Use Caltrops to slow them if needed. Careful of getting jammed in choke points...
- Melee kiting
The point is to keep the enemy in place while at the same time avoid hits. Quickly stutter step around them or back and forth from them. Very monster type dependant, for example good against the big skeletons in Keep Depths. Melee kiting will also help you avoid missiles and ground effects. Reacting to everything that happens is too hard when there are many different things going on and enemies are close to you, so being a moving target is often the best you can do. You should also stutter away from dangerous things like lasers whenever possible, rather than run away in panic.
We need to hit as many enemies at a time as possible. Enemies move and behave differently, so we have to do that as well.
Don't stop and shoot when you see an enemy. Tap it with bola to get it to aggro, then keep moving on, until you have a nice big pack around you or find an elite. If you are killing one target you are doing 100% dps. If you are hitting 10 targets you are doing 1000% dps. It's pretty similar to offensive kiting but more aggressive and premeditated. Depends on area, Fields of Misery is perfect to try this in.
Different monsters behave differently, obviously. But they also behave differently depending on affixes. Try to learn how different enemies/affixes behave and how to best make use of or counter it.
Try to make use of corners, choke points and so on, depending on the point above. These points can't really be explained how to actually do.
- Hugging the archers
Ranged enemies stand still and shoot, or kite away. Melee enemies usually move towards you. Often you are fighting both types at the same time, leading to the enemy getting spread out. You can solve this by sticking close to the ranged enemies and let the melee ones come to you. The crowding can even prevent kiters from moving.
When fighting frozen, nightmarish and such, you will need to keep life stealing while incapacitated. So when you don't bother or can't avoid frozen, cast gloom and drop EBs (and Jagged or CoT if you're using that).
Do not overlook the importance of having more hatred and managing it correctly. This is one of the dh's greatest weaknesses, and neglecting it in favour of paper dps is stupid. Work at your EB timing so that you are using it as often as possible without overstacking.
One way is to count attacks. Easier with low aps but still hard. The time from EB dropped to being used up is 3.2 sec. This means the number of attacks you can get off before you can use it again is 3.2*aps rounded up, including the first EB. For me that number is 6. So I can either shoot cycles of 1-2 1-2 1-2 (eb id, eb id, eb id) or 1-2-3 1-2-3 (eb eb eb, id id id) as a way of keeping track of how quickly I can use it. You'll never be able to keep it up fully in practice but it's still better to know what your target is than just guessing.
This is one of my biggest weaknesses (apart from my arrogant attitude), so don't flame me for not following my own advice :P
- Mob skipping
You don't have to kill every single mob, leaving a few can save more time than they're worth.
- Why melee is better than ranged for dh
When enemies are far away they are spread out, when they get closer to you they also get closer to each other. Since our best skills are small aoe attacks, we are bad at fighting at range. Even if we can keep range, which is hard, it's usually more effective not to.
It's of course bad for your dps but I think you learn more when taking risks than when playing safe.
That's just the stuff that came to mind, maybe some of it is stupid. Criticism welcome, ideas even more welcome.
Keep Depths 2:
VotA, my nemesis:
Calamity in Weeping Hollows. Note that both my dps and experience is too low with this weapon:
Alternative build, Fields of Misery: