After a few deaths last week with the DiabloWikiBarbarian I set out with my DiabloWikiDemon Hunter to explore the class I’ve played the least. The result were suprising, Zero deaths, Zero close calls and zero fun.

    The Demon Hunter has come a long way since October when the class was so messed up it was almost unplayable. Now you can join just about any game in the beta and encounter at least one. Runestones and readjustment of skills and resources have helped this class a lot and it feels complete, but for myself boring.

    Playing a ranged character allows for some safety in Hardcore. You aren’t rushing into a pack of monsters but on the fringe picking them off and running away if they get too close. Even from the start I was able to have most monsters dead before they were able to even hit me.

    I did have some advantages in this character that I did not have on my Barbarian. I had a fully leveled artisan, and a pile of gold and materails to go about crafting what I needed. The crafted gear was far from epic but gave me a leg up in what I was doing.

    Like last time I split my play time between public and solo. I saved cain, killed zombies and killed Haedrig’s wife. Then I went into a public game and did it all again. I’m finding this is a great way to stay alive and level up to the point of survivability in the areas that follow. I expect in release we’ll be doing a lot of quests repeats to keep us alive.

    As for survivability it was actually quite easy. With no monster even coming close I didn’t even need a potion on my run to 13. Sitting back I felt no threat to my well being and as a result some of the rush of hardcore was gone. Will this be the full case for release? I doubt it, however right now it does feel like ranged is the way to go. Even when I forced myself to get close to monsters I didn’t feel as squishy as I imagined I would be as a ranged character. They wizard by far feels more fragile.

    Dicipline feels like a wasted resource in the early levels, I may run out of it from spamming vault to quick clear a dungeon, but for the most part it was always full and rarely used. Perhaps in the later levels it will take ona greater importance but right now it feels like those skills could easily come off my hatred instead.

    One of the reasons I enjoyed the barbarian was due to the fact that I had to rely on each and every skill I had to get to 13 and had to make judgement calls on which I wanted based on the situations I was encountering. For the Demon Hunter I didn’t feel like I needed to. I was completly capable using DiabloWikiHungering arrow and DiabloWikirapid fire all the way to 13 with on occasional vault or caltrops thrown in. This lead to a monotonous play through for me. It felt like a chore to push from 12 to 13 just because the class lacked that depth. I’m not saying you won’t find fun in the Demon Hunter, the class has some great strengths and it suits the ranged role very well. I wasn’t to keen on the Demon Hunter a few months ago and I’m not sold on it yet, but it’s moving in the right direction and perhaps it will shine in the later difficulties.

    Next week: The Wizard

    One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.

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