We've put together this Diablo 3 Demon Hunter guide to get you up to speed on the most relentless class coming to Blizzard’s upcoming action role playing game. This handy guide gives you all the most important info on the Demon Hunter from Diablo 3 at a glance.
You Should Play A Demon Hunter If: If you love standing back and slaying enemies from afar, or finding the most strategic way to take down a monster, then the Demon Hunter could be for you. Specializing in ranged weaponry and traps, Demon Hunters, unlike some of the other Diablo 3 classes, need to take their environment into account when bringing down their enemies.
Background: Demon Hunters are a group of fanatical warriors who have but one purpose: to avenge their friends and families who were butchered by demons and hellspawn. Every arrow that a Demon Hunter launches is "dipped in spite" and "delivered with hatred." This fuels them to keep hunting, as every demon who falls to their deadly attacks makes the world that much safer.
The key features of the Demon Hunter include ranged weapons, shadow magic, traps, and battle tactics. A Demon Hunter has more precision with a ranged weapon than any other class in Diablo 3, and they use this extra skill to equip various artillery like longbows, grenades, hand-thrown weapons, and even dual-wielded crossbows. With shadow magic, the Demon Hunter can cloak themselves and slip between the shadows to sneak up on their enemies.
Demon Hunters are extremely agile but they can't withstand much damage. Therefore, they use traps to slow their enemies down so that they can kite, or run and fire at their enemies while they're slowed down. Using mines, grenades, caltrops, or steel-jawed traps are just a few of the ways that Demon Hunters soften up their prey. Finally, a Demon Hunter uses battle tactics like hamstring arrows or entangling bolas to debuff and slow enemies, making them more vulnerable to the Demon Hunter's attacks.
How You Play A Demon Hunter: Demon Hunters are the only class in the game with two different resources: Hatred and Discipline. Hatred is the resource which is available for a Demon Hunter's offensive skills and it regenerates quickly. Discipline on the other hand is the resource available for defensive maneuvers and traps and it regenerates very slowly.
Therefore, to successfully play a Demon Hunter you have to carefully balance how you generate and spend your Discipline in order to not only ensure survival, but also to kill demons as efficiently as possible.
Demon Hunter Equipment: Like all of the classes in Diablo 3, the Demon Hunter gets their own one-of-a-kind equipment including hand crossbows, quivers, and cloaks. Hand crossbows are "quick-reloading, fast-firing ranged weapons" that the Demon Hunter can actually dual wield. Double the hand crossbows, double the fun, as they say. The Demon Hunter's quiver contains not just arrows, but mystic properties that allows the DH to fire faster as well. Finally, as every class needs a stylish flair, Demon Hunters can equip cloaks which not only provide chest protection, but allow them to move acrobatically while defending themselves against their foes.
Demon Hunter Skills: Demon Hunters have 23 available skills in total in Diablo 3 which are divided in to three different types: Offense, Discipline, and Utility skills. Whereas other classes have skills that feel like they could be interchanged between any tree, the Demon Hunter's three types of skills are all very distinct. It will be up to your personal playstyle to choose which skills will be the best for you.
Skills which use Hatred will cause the most damage to enemies, as well as debilitating them, depending on the skill. Discipline skills are all of the Demon Hunter's defensive maneuvers. These skills will allow you to use traps and turrets, summon companions, or even vault out of harm's way. These are non-direct spells that generally help protect your Demon Hunter while dealing out some damage to foes in the process.
Like all of the other Diablo 3 classes, Demon Hunters can only have six skills active at a time. You start out with one active skill at level one and you unlock the ability to use a extra skills at levels 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24. Demon Hunters also unlock passive skill slots at levels 10, 20, and 30.
As you're making your way through Diablo 3 as a Demon Hunter, there are a few skills to keep in mind. These are skills that will prove to be the most useful, or are a bit more potent than others.
Hungering Arrow: Unlocked right off the bat at level 1, Hungering Arrow is a magically imbued arrow that seeks out targets and deals 115% weapon damage to them, with a 35% chance to pierce through targets. It also generates 3 Hatred. I liked this skill a lot because it was sort of a homing arrow, and no matter which direction I aimed, it would always find a target to kill.
Caltrops: Unlocked at level 4, Caltrops costs 6 Discipline and the skill allows you to lay a trap of caltrops on the ground that slows enemies within 12 yards by 60% once activated. This skill is a great way to slow enemies down so that you can get as far away as possible and deal damage to them while they can't catch up to you. With this kiting method, you can solo just about any standard enemy in Diablo 3.
Chakram: Unlocked at level 12, Chakram costs 10 Hatred to use. It sends a Chakram towards enemies, dealing 150% weapon damage to any enemies that it hits along its path. It's basically a huge swirling ninja star of death that deals tons of damage and looks very cool in the process. Getting a good angle to send out the Chakram is fun, and watching it impale multiple enemies at once is awesome.
What's great about the Demon Hunter is that because they're adept with both ranged weapons as well as traps and explosives, you can choose the way that best compliments your playstyle and set your Demon Hunter up in that way. Balancing your Hatred and Discipline might be somewhat difficult when you first start with the class, but eventually it makes sense and once it does using both types of skills pays off.
Passive Demon Hunter Skills: In Diablo 3 you can only equip one passive skill at level 10. Your choices at level 10 are Tactical Advantage and Thrill of the Hunt. At level 13 Vengeance unlocks, while at level 16 you get access to Steady Aim. When you unlock your next Passive Skill slot at level 20, you'll also unlock Cull the Weak and Night Stalker. Passive Skills are just that: abilities that you don't have to cast but grant passive advantages to your Demon Hunter.
Tactical Advantage gives the Demon Hunter a 60% boost to movement speed for 2 seconds every time you use Vault, Smoke Screen, or backflip with Evasive Fire. Thrill of the Hunt makes your attacks immobilize your target for three seconds once every ten seconds. Vengeance allows you to gain 20 Hatred, 2 Discipline, and increases your maximum Hatred by 25 for ten seconds whenever you consumer a health globe. Steady Aim increases your damage by 20% as long as there are no enemies within 10 yards of you.
Cull the Weak will have you utilizing traps to an extreme, as this Passive Skill increases damage to slowed enemies by 15%. Finally, Night Stalker is useful if you find yourself struggling to fight defensively, as it causes critical hits to have a chance to restore 1 Discipline.
I went for the Vengeance passive skill for my Demon Hunter. Increasing my Hatred by 25 every time I ate one allowed me to spam a lot of Hatred Spender skills and deal a ton of damage to my enemies. I also just love the Steady Aim passive skill in general. I think that it will make players play the Demon Hunter how Blizzard intends for the class to be played, and that's brilliant game design in my opinion.
For my Demon Hunter's Active skills I chose a mix between Hatred Generators, Spenders, and Discipline spells (what a surprise!). My staple Hatred Generators were Hungering Arrow and Evasive Fire, the latter of which shoots enemies for 125% weapon damage, and if an enemy is at close range you back flip away 15 yards. This mix of Hatred Generation was strong enough to take out enemies out quickly, and then I'd spend my Hatred on Chakram which could rip through packs of foes quickly. Finally, I used Vault as my Discipline skill to both get away from enemies quickly, as well as a way to stylishly get from one pack to the next. In sticky situations I'd throw down a caltrop trap, but in general I didn't need to do this too much.
Like the Monk, the Demon Hunter is one of the more skill-based classes in Diablo 3. You really have to focus on balancing your Hatred and Discipline in order to use your skills, and it will be interesting to see how different types of players utilize the Demon Hunter. Not only that, but a lot of the Demon Hunter's skills will be more beneficial for those people who strategize more with class, lay traps, etc., rather than those who just run into every situation with their crossbows out.
What do you think of the Demon Hunter in Diablo 3? Let me know in the comments below, and tell me how you set up your Demon Hunter's skills if they're different than the ones that I used. Also be sure to check out our Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Guide, Diablo 3 Wizard Guide, and our Diablo 3 Monk Guide for everything you want to know about the other Diablo 3 classes.