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Diablo 3 - What We Know
Its the game that inspired a thousand knockoffs and is considered to be among the greatest games of all time. One mention of the word "Diablo" to experienced gamers results in nostalgic tales of a sense of wonderment, terror, epic loot and, of course, horrible hand cramping. Blizzard's seminal action-adventure isometric dungeon crawler has influenced hundreds of games since its first inception, including hack-and-slashers like Titan Quest and Dungeon Siege, loot-based games like World of Warcraft, and even shooters like Borderlands. And now, Blizzard is nearing the newest release of its towering demonic franchise, Diablo 3.
Of course, lead designer Jay Wilson is not one to release many details about the game, except those that make the press and public salivate with excitement. For 2 subsequent years, Wilson and his team have held enlightening seminars at Gamescom, revealing character classes, skills, loot, art direction and more. Yet there is a distinct lack of concrete details about each class that Blizzard has purposefully engineered.
We do know that the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter takes the place of the Rogue from Diablo and the Amazon from Diablo 2, but we don't really know exactly how she plays, other than attacking over long distances. Thankfully, that lack of knowledge has recently changed. Demos at PAX and Gamescom have illuminated the skills, attributes, and design behind the huntress. Of course, the Demon Hunter is fragile and requires fast reflexes, so it is practically a necessity to read this beginner's Diablo 3 Demon Hunter guide before you start your Diablo 3 experience.
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The Demon Hunter
The Demon Hunter is not a difficult class to be successful with, but it is a difficult class to master. While simplistic classes like the Barbarian can just rush into combat willy-nilly, the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter has to take care to balance her two key resources; Hatred and Discipline.
Hatred is the obvious resource here; the Demon Hunter uses her pure Hatred of all demons to unleash deadly ranged attacks with the sole intent of murdering as many minions of hell as possible. Discipline is a little bit tricky, as it is needed to set up traps, react defensively with close range "Oh crap!" attacks, and manuever around enemies using shadow magic. Here's the catch; Hatred fills up fast, Discipline fills up slow. Thus, the Demon Hunter kills monsters fast and easy, but can only save herself once or twice before the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. Of course, this dual resource mechanic means that Demon Hunters will have to use all of their available skills to simply survive.
The Demon Hunter receives a different skill at every single level-up for the first 30 or so levels. Unlike Diablo 2, Diablo 3 Demon Hunter skills will automatically level up as the player does, making respeccing into a different build as easy as moving around the active skills on your hotbar. Of course, you must choose wisely, as each character will only be able to choose 6 active skills and 3 passive skills available for use as any one time. For the Demon Hunter, this means balancing core Hatred attack skills with butt-saving Discipline skills. So without further ado, here is what we know about the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter skill list so far.
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Demon Hunter Low-Tier Skills
The Diablo 3 Demon Hunter active skills can be grouped into three different categories; low-tier, mid-tier and high-tier. The skills in each of these specific categories will have similar cooldown timers based on how damaging they are to enemies. Each low-tier skill has a cooldown timer anywhere from 10 seconds to 45 seconds.
- Level 1: Caltrops: A Discipline skill that scatters a small number of caltrops in a 60 degree arc in front of your character.Any enemies that walk over these will be dealt direct damage, with the possiblity of damage over time or a slow movement speed effect.
- Level 1: Hungering Shot: A Hatred skill that fires a powerful piercing round through one enemy and into the next. Rune enhancements may make this skill zig-zag through targets, or pierce and then explode each hit monster.
- Level 2: Entangling Shot: Probably one of the most important Hatred skills for the Demon Hunter. When one demon is hit with ES, a shadowy chain links out to two or more of his buddies and greatly reduces the movement and attack speed of each entangled enemy. Rune enhancements will most likely increase the number of enemies entangled and deal elemental damage to each.
- Level 3: Evasive Shot: A good Discipline skill, Evasive Shot is both offensive and defensive in nature. The Demon Hunter is able to dodge incoming enemy attacks for a very short duration, while at the same time returning fire to several different enemies at the same time.
- Level 4: Fan of Knives: A close range Discipline skill. Fan of Knives activates a 360 degree, high damage emergency ring of knives that extend several feet out from your character and deal direct damage to any monsters that come close. Good for buying time and space to manuever.
- Level 5: Bola Shot: A ranged Hatred skill, Bola Shot is great for attacking groups of demons. The Hunter fires an explosive device that wraps around its target, exploding and dealing direct damage to any creatures nearby. Your first great group damage skill.
- Level 6: Vault: A Discipline based skill and one of the most essential Diablo 3 Demon Hunter skills, Vault allows your Hunter to acrobatically tumble away from groups of enemies. Fantastic for keeping yourself alive and shooting. Rune enhancements deal damage and slow down any enemies caught in your path. A must equip.
- Level 7: Grenades: A Hatred skill. Grenades is exactly what it sounds like. The Demon Hunter lobs 3 highly damaging explosive devices towards her enemies. Good for crowd demolition, hard to control though.
- Level 8: Marked for Death: A Hatred skill, MfD fires a precision shot that creates a "Mark" over the affected demon's head. Every shot thereafter is pinpointed onto that target and deals increased damage. Rune enhancements may add explosive effects to the Mark's shot. Great for boss fights and group play.
- Level 9: Chakram:The Chakram is a Discipline skill. The Demon Hunter fires a shuriken-type saw projectile that moves in a large circular pattern away from the Hunter. This skill does high damage, and is a good way of clearing out a group of monsters surrounding you. Rune enhancements make this skill fire off more than one elemental Chakram. High skill cost.
- Levl 11: Impale: Impale is a Hatred skill that is great for dealing high damage and immobilizing targets. It fires a high damage spear round that roots your victim to the ground for several seconds. Highly effective against melee enemies like suicidal bomb-Fallen.
For Diablo 3 beginners, these low tier Demon Hunter skills are all you will be using. Next we are going to take a look at the low level Demon Hunter passive skills, and then a look at several different builds and strategies for each. Click on Next Page to continue reading the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Guide for Beginners.
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Demon Hunter Low-Tier Passive Skills
In the first breakdown of the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter, we looked at the list of active skills up to level 12. Now we are going to take a look at the Demon Hunter's passive skills for the same range. Each character can have 3 passive skills active at a time, and each of these skills can be enhanced via the rune system - often for extra elemental damage or effects against demons.
- Level 3: Weak Spot: Increases Critical Strike damage by 100%. This passive skill does not cost any resource to use, and can greatly increase your damage output if you have high dexterity.
- Level 6: Archery: Reduces the cost of Hatred skills by 50%. This is a must-have skill for the Diablo 3 newbie. It allows you to continuously attack without taking much of a break - good for exp and more loot.
- Level 6: Cloak of Shadows: Reduces Melee Damage taken by 20%. Obviously a good choice for the offensively minded Demon Hunter, as this will help protect you while you slaughter the burning hordes of hell.
While these are the only passive skills we know of that are available to beginners in Diablo 3, they are also highly useful and should be equipped by everyone. Now that we have gone over the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter newbie skills, lets take a look at some basic battle strategy.
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Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Basic Strategy
The most basic strategy for any ranged unit in the Diablo series boils down to this; stay the hell away from whatever it is you are shooting. While the same holds true for the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter, it is also important to have a balance of skills from which to draw upon. But first things first, what skills should a Demon Hunter use most often?
Before we start messing around with the low-tier active skills, take a moment and activate one of your 3 gained passive skills, Weak Spot, Archery and Cloak of Shadows. If you are facing the regular horde from hell, it would probably make more sense to take Archery - which allows the Hunter to get off more attacks before taking a breather - or Cloak of Shadows - which helps keep the Hunter alive should she get hit multiple times. When it is time fore a boss fight, switch out to Weak Spot to greatly increase your single target damage. Otherwise, stick to your more practical skills.
The active skills that should never be unequipped early on are Entangling Shot, Bola Shot, and Vault. Entangling Shot is an amazing, low cost attack that gives the Demon Hunter a fantastic tactical advantage; it slows multiple enemies down at once. ES allows the Demon Hunter to effectively control crowds of demons. Bola Shot not only does great single target damage, but it also affects other monster nearby. It is relatively low cost to use, and multiple Bolas shot into a group can take it out before they reach your Hunter. Vault is the best "Get out of Jail Free" card the Demon Hunter gets. It allows the Hunter to cover a large distance without taking damage or getting crowded by enemies. While Vault does not damage any monsters originally, it will save your life many, many times.
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Demon Hunter Build Strategy
An ideal balance for a Demon Hunter's skills will be 4 Hatred based attacks, and 2 Discipline based skills. Builds that are focused too heavily on offensive skills will not be able to survive more challenging encounters when they need an escape route. Builds that are too heavy on Discipline skills will not be able to attack enough to be successful in the dungeons of Diablo 3. Balance is the key to success as a Demon Hunter.
One effective beginners Demon Hunter build is to use your favorite combination of Hungering Arrow, Entangling Shot, Evasive Fire, Bola Shot, Vault, Grenades and Imaple. When you first enter battle, immediately use Entangling Shot on the fastest and closest enemies to you. This will buy you enough time to unleash your more powerful Hatred skills. Fire off a couple of salvos of Bola Shot on different enemies to damage the group enough for your Hungering Arrows to take care of any monsters lined up.Always start off a group encounter of melee demons with Entangling Shot. After slowing them down, fire a few Hungering Arrows or Bola Shots on any ranged baddies to take them out, then return your focus on the melee mobs coming your way.
Should you get surrounded, pop on Vault and tumble your way to a safer area, then scatter a couple of Grenades on the ground to deliver some high explosive damage to the mob. If you get in serious trouble, pop Evasive Fire to dodge any incoming attacks and give yourself some room, then activate Impale to immobilize the most powerful single demon in the group. Scatter a couple of Bola Shots around the monsters to finish the job.
Of course, this is just one example of a beta-era Diablo 3 Demon Hunter build. The nice thing about D3 is that you can feel free to play around with as many skills as possible, without wasting time on respeccing from scratch. Remember, balance is the key to the successful Demon Hunter. Well, that and some good bows...and the use of the best Diablo 3 Demon Hunter guide found right here.
Some introductory guides on getting started in Diablo II.