For all its flaws, Diablo 3 is a great overall game, and a lot of fun to play. For the past week I’ve been having a blast playing the Demon Hunter, a dark killer with a large toolkit that lets you push lots of buttons, exert crowd control, and do things with crossbows that are so far beyond the laws of physics it passes the realm of impossible to a place known as the possimpible.
I strived to create a build that focused on good control without sacrificing so much DPS that clicking on things doesn’t result in dead things, and without using any of the skills that have been described as mandatory by the community at large.
What I’ve found to be the optimal build is this. Unconventional by all standards, it focuses on dishing out huge amounts of critical damage and reaping the rewards.
In this installment, I’ll be going over the most important thing you’ll need for this build: LOOT! In part 2, I’ll go over the reasoning for each skill, alternatives, and what you low level scrubs can use until you’re awesome enough to use these. Finally, for part 3, I’ll give you my tips on how to use the build most effectively, and the boss fights you’ll want to modify it for.
The general concept of the build comes from the following reasoning:
- The more buttons we can press, the more DPS and control we will have
- To push lots of buttons that kill things, we need lots of hatred
- The faster we can shoot our primary, the more hatred we’ll have
- To kill things, we need to not be dead
- To not be dead, we need lots of discipline
- Multishot with Suppression Fire costs too much hatred (less buttons for dead things)
- Fuck Preparation
- Considering #7, we are left with with Night Stalker
- If you feel like a bad-ass, you’ll play like a bad-ass
So we need to attack fast, crit a lot, and do anything else we can to generate lots of resources. Two-handed bows and crossbows are out, because not only are they slower than your mother trying to figure out what the hell we’re talking about, they can’t have Demon Hunter specific properties like +hatred regen and +max discipline, which we want. Hand Crossbows are our best bet here, because not only are they fast, but with Archery we’ll be critting more, which means more dead things and more not dead us.
All of this only requires our main hand to use a hand crossbow. But in our off hand, we could potentially use a quiver. But we won’t. If we dual wield, we’ll be attacking faster than with a quiver. Attacking faster means more hatred from our primary and more chances to crit, which means more not deadness and more happy big numbers. In addition, hand crossbows can have more stats than quivers (Have I mentioned that big numbers are good?). Best of all, your character is no longer physically capable of reloading, and the more you break the laws of physics, the more of a badass you are.
Also, fuck quivers.
You’ll want your weapons to have at absolute minimum these affixes:
- Bonus damage of any element
- Crit damage
- Attack speed
- Weapon damage %
- Hatred regeneration
- Maximum Discipline
- Chance to bleed
- Chance to stun/slow/fear/etc.
- Bonus vs. Elites
- Life steal
- Life on hit
For gems, most people use rubies. Those guys are idiots. Rubies scale exceptionally poorly, and since damage alternates between your two weapons when dual wielding, their bonuses don’t stack. Since we’re already going to be critting a lot, emeralds are our best choice. After all, they make your big numbers bigger, and I like big numbers. If you’re having survivability issues, don’t have much crit gear, or are low level and haven’t unlocked Sharpshooter yet, amethysts aren’t a bad choice either. A dead demon hunter kills nothing.
While a weapon is nice, naked Demon Hunters tend to have (very minor) issues in Inferno. You’ll probably want to find some clothes to wear so your opponent isn’t laughing at you. Each class has a unique armor type that the other classes would look too ridiculous if they were to equip it. For Demon Hunters, it’s a cloak which uses the chest slot. When selecting a chest piece, you’ll always want to use a cloak. Cloaks are able to get Demon Hunter specific properties that standard chest armor cannot. And you’ll look like a ninja (other than the being invisible bit). Who doesn’t want to look like a ninja?
You should look for as many of the following affixes as possible:
- Hatred regeneration
- Maximum Discipline
- Life %
- Decreased Impale cost
- Any resistance
- Life regeneration
Every Demon Hunter needs to ensure they have quality bling that would make Mr. T proud. Amulets and rings are the only armor slots that can directly have +damage numbers on them, and you’ll want to find it on them whenever you can. In addition to helms, they’re also the only slots capable of having the extremely useful crowd control reduction stat. Since some asshole 30 years ago decided that wearing a nice ring can make you infinitely more powerful, they’re also the only armor slots capable of having every damage stat.
In a perfect world, you’ll have these specific affixes:
- Extra damage
- Crit chance
- Crit damage
- Crowd control reduction
Assuming you don’t enjoy being decapitated, your choice of helm is also important. Helms have a few unique stats worth mentioning. They are the only type of armor which has a separate effect from gems. In a baffling move from Blizzard, amethysts are the only gem which have a stat that helps you in battle. Regardless, the life % gets pretty hefty, and is enough to warrant requiring a socket on your helm. They’re also one of the few slots which can have crowd control reduction, which can be quite helpful against certain elites. Other than that, you’ll want to look for the same stats as other armor (listed below).
The rest of the slots are pretty straight forward. Each piece of armor (aside from the chest piece) has a specific type of crowd control chance that they can have, and it’s never a bad thing to get. Boots are also worth mentioning, since they are the only slot that can have a movement speed bonus, and it’s always something you’ll want.
Bracers, gloves, and helms can have increased crit chance. Gloves can also have crit damage, and attack speed (which you’ll want both of). Finally, belts, helms, and shoulders can have life %. If you can’t figure out the rest of the affixes you’ll want, you’ll probably want to get off the computer and go back to Kindergarten.
This game is rated M.
Stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll explain why I chose the skills I did, and what some solid alternatives are.