Are you leveling your Demon Hunter? I told you why you should play a Demon Hunter, so you’re probably leveling one. Right? The Demon Hunter might be one of the most enjoyable and challenging classes to level up, but there are definitely some really easy tips that can get you started, help you keep going and help you reach level 60 easier and in less time.
Buying Bows off the Auction House
Some players have railed me in the past for saying that not buying equipment off the auction house is a common mistake. The fact is, some players just like to be ‘purists’ and use only the equipment they find off the ground or on vendors. But here is the reality: Right about the middle of Nightmare your leveling pace will start slowing down. By the time you get into Hell bosses like the Butcher can take 5-8 minutes to kill solo. This isn’t necessarily because they are hard, have a lot of health of because Blizzard didn’t want you to be able to play the game during commercial breaks of House. This is, in part, because there is really powerful gear available to you at level 50-52 and you just don’t have it.
For example, going into Hell as a complete purist I had a bow that was about base 240 dps. My tooltip damage was 4300 and I felt pretty good about that since I brought it up from 1300 to 4300 throughout Nightmare difficulty. I went on the Auction House to see what I could find, and sure enough 315 base DPS on a rare bow with Attack Speed, Life after kill, +74 Vitality and +110 Dexterity was for sale for only 35,000 gold. Geez (see How to find good gear for low prices). After equipping this bow my DPS was right around 8800 which is over double. Instead of spending 5-8 minutes on the Butcher I was able to kill him in 3-4 minutes.
You can upgrade your gear too, but you’re going to notice a much more significant bang for your buck if you just focus on your weapon. Here is a table of highest-base DPS based on level:
So as you can see the max available DPS goes up considerably as you level. My 230 DPS bow at level 52 was pretty good but by level 55 I was able to crank that up to 340 DPS for only a few thousand gold. I don’t recommend buying the best available, just get something that is cheap and upgrade every 5 levels or so. The chances are that you will not find bows in game on your own except every 10 levels. That means you could be 100s of base DPS behind, which amounts to thousands of actual DPS after stats and skills.
Keep in mind that base DPS is not the most important stat, make sure it has a lot of dexterity, some Attack Speed and then some extra helpful stats like life leach, vitatliy, etc on it.
Stand Your Ground
I’ve talked a lot about kiting and how cool it is in Diablo 3. One mistake you might be making is kiting too much. Sometimes the better choice is just to stand your ground and take a few hits. You can save precious minutes over the long run by getting hit, doing more damage and covering the difference with the probable health globe that will drop. Some mobs are particularly dangerous when you let them get close enough to hit you, others are not. Experiment and see which ones you need to invest the time kiting and which ones you don’t.
Use Elective Mode
Some players are still confused about Elective Mode. In the comments of some of my best builds I’ve seen players tell me that my builds are impossible because you can’t have this or that in a certain location. Yes you can. You can do just about anything you want when you use elective mode. Elective Mode allows you to use whatever ability in whatever skill area you want. For example you could use all 3 of the Demon Hunter’s Defensive abilities. Got it? Get it and use it. It’s free.
Using the Right Skills
There are certainly some skills you will fall in love with early in the game and not want to part with. Some are more effective for solo play and others are more effective for group play. Make sure you test a variety of them before settling with a particular play style, you might miss out on some powerful skills otherwise. Chakram is a personal favorite not just because it’s easy to use (you don’t always have to aim) but because it does the most damage per hatred spent of the secondary abilities.
Smoke Screen before and after the nerf is useful for boss fights where you need an extra way to kite. Preparation is a second heal when properly runed. Rain of Vengeance with Stampede will knock enemies back, not only doing damage all over the screen but also freeing you to burn something down if it is launching deadly mortars at you. Caltrops is like a frost trap from World of Warcraft, slowing enemies but you can also have it immobilize them for 1-2 seconds to help you get more ground on them. I could go on all day. Find the skills that work best for your play style, use them but also try new things as they are unlocked. Be the guy who knows how the game works, not the guy who uses the same skills from Normal to Hell, where you will get stuck if you do that. Don’t just read the skills’ tooltips, experiment with them.
Vitality vs. Dexterity
Once you reach Nightmare you’re going to have to start loading up on Vitality. I stacked Vitality until it was 50% of my Dexterity. By the end of Nightmare it was at 75% of my Dexterity. It’s stayed around 75% since. Any higher than that doesn’t seem necessary while lower than that adds an element of risk that results in too many arduous run backs. You definitely have a lot of control with your equipment selection to decide how much vitality and damage you’re going to have. You will probably be able to make good judgements based on your survivability, but don’t forget about Vitality.
That’s all I have for now, hopefully you found at least one really good tip to use leveling your Demon Hunter. If I missed something, please comment below. If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing it with your friends in forums, on Facebook or anywhere else for the world to see. You can also join Diablo 3 Artisans and see new content the minute its published.
Important: Many of the strategies and tips I share here were originally inspired by the people at the Diablo 3 Gold Secrets Forum. If you're serious about making the big bucks in Diablo 3, or just being the best players, you need to signup ASAP.