One life to live: The challenge I can’t accept

In Diablo 3 Hardcore can accept losing a high level paragon; I can accept rogue disconnects; I can press on during lag; I can deal with skill imbalances,but one thing I can not do: Play a DiabloWikiDemon Hunter.


Okay flame off. I cannot lie though, the DH is the one class that I have not been able to get into. This isn’t something new however, I’ve been neglectful of them since the beta. Which is surprising to me, I was a huge fan of both the amazon and the assassin in D2, and when the class was introduced I imagined they’d be one my favorites right out of the gate. So what happened?

First I think it was the play style. I’ve discovered in D3 I’m quite drawn to melee characters, and being in the middle of the fight swinging for my life. I found myself with the Demon hunter running away, retreating to safety, while never feeling that safe. This put me off right away. I’d rather go down swinging than running away from something that kills me.

After that was the resource system, it never really clicked for me. Every other system seemed to make some sense, but the management of both seemed off to me and while I’m sure I could figure it out I never really wanted to. I would rather jump in generating spirit, or fury, than meticulously manage two resources.

Last was survivability. I play Hardcore (If you’re surprised at that revelation you might be new here) and ultimately my time is better spent on a character I feel comfortable in. Sure I may die at some point but I’ll enjoy the journey. I never had that feeling with a Demon Hunter, it always felt fruitless and perhaps that’s why my lone DH sits at a lowly level 17. The irony is that most of the staff at Incgamers loves them, and I was one of the few who didn’t have one in their stable of characters, yet alone as a main.

This isn’t the first class I’ve neglected.In D2 it was the sorceress and I think I missed out, So tell me dear reader why should I step in the shoes(heels?) of a DH and what is working in Hardcore with your Demon hunter? Also, is there a class you’ve neglected? Why?

As a side note I’m working on compiling a massive article on builds that work in Hardcore, why they work and how they work. However I need your help. I can’t be everywhere at once, nor play all classes and all builds. If you have a build that’s working and want contribute drop me an email at the address located below!

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. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!

Related to this article
You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

16 thoughts on “One life to live: The challenge I can’t accept

  1. I’m almost in the same boat as you. I’ve got one sitting at level 26, but am almost sure I’m going to die before I get out of normal. The only class I haven’t given an actual chance is the WD. If my monks and barbs could avoid d/c deaths, I’d have time to level that DH and eventually a WD as well.

  2. I strongly disliked my DH until the MS build became popular and I had the cash to gear her for it. That said, survivability remains a little touchy, so maybe not so great for HC.

  3. First time HC. Currently on my 7th DH. Notable deaths: 60(2) 60, 57, 14, 53

    Biggest killer for me. A Fire Trap(usually on it’s own, it’s one of those that goes all across the floor in a straight line) in Keep level 1 act 3. I swear this trap is bugged in inferno. My first lvl60 char died while walking pass it, 2nd char died when vaulting stop right on top of it.

    This trap is instant kill for my DHs. Anyone brave enough to find out what the dmg is?

  4. If you’re really worried about survivabilty, then focus on Max Discipline on your Cloak and Quiver. If you can afford it, get it on your bow, too. 55 Discipline + Smoke Screen + Tactical Advantage and a lot of practice will save your butt 99.999% of the time. I even prefer it over Gloom with a big enough Discipline pool, because it breaks Jailer and Frozen and keeps you from getting frozen in the first place. If you get caught between 3 Arcane beams, only Smokescreen can keep you alive (you take damage while Vaulting through them). Many times 0% damage for 1.5 seconds vs. 65% damage reduction for 5 seconds is the difference between life and death. The big downside is that you can’t run through mobs like you can with Vault if you get cornered (hint: don’t get cornered).

    DH’s have an enormous problem with Reflect Damage mobs even if you choose to run Gloom. DH skills tend to either do a massive amount of damage (Spike Trap, Cluster Arrow) or a relatively small amount (Hungering Arrow, Multishot). A crit on Spike Trap even on a poorly geared DH can do 200k a pop. You have to use ST or CA, though, because they’re the only way to kill elites with anything approaching efficiency. As such, DH’s can’t focus solely on LoH or Life Steal so need a goodly amount of both to really expect to survive every Reflect Damage mob you encounter. Note: Damage doesn’t reflect under Smokescreen and knowing that will save your life.

    Mortar is a true pain in the butt and will kill you from off screen until you develop twitch reflexes on Smokescreen. If you prioritize one resist in the name of budget, make it Fire resist. You’ll find survival much easier with 300 AR with 500 Fire Resist than 350 AR and no additional Fire Resist.

    To really have fun with a DH in Inferno, you need to be geared to the teeth. Some of the other classes can get away with a few pieces of subpar gear and still destroy things with near-impunity. DH need quality gear on pretty much every piece to ensure survival while still dealing some damage. Dodge is great and all, but losing the inherent defensive advantage of stacking Strength or Intelligence is tough to overcome and makes survival sometimes feel more like luck than skill like dodging the orange exploding orb of death when you’re cornered.

    DH are probably a lot more fun in softcore where they can be squishier and you don’t lose top end equipment you invest in. There are half a dozen builds that are entirely viable for killing things in Inferno at different MP levels which means you can log 400 hours on one and still have fun killing mobs in new and creative ways. Few, if any, builds seem particularly suited for hardcore.

    I adore the DH class, but I don’t blame you at all for not enjoying them in hardcore.

  5. I loved Demon Hunters until Blizzard obliterated LoH coefficients, Caltrops, and Grenades. In a world of overpowered spin-to-win Barbs and CM Wizards, the gutting of the Demon Hunter to bow-skill builds only was completely unwarranted, especially considering the Demon Hunter was supposed to be a darker, ranged, assassin-type character.

  6. I’m pretty neglectful of my Demon Hunter as well, especially in Hardcore. I have close friends that play them excessively, and coincidentally are the most frequent re-rollers. 🙁 I blame my lack of playtime, I can get away with that, right?

  7. OK I do not play hardcore, have not played hardcore and doubt I ever will.

    However. I do play a lot of d3 and I have to say I felt the exact, like exact, same way as you do about the class Xanth.

    Then I made one.

    OK so I cannot speak to their worthiness or lack thereof in hardcore, but I have to say one thing, the class is fun.

    Highly mobile, high dps, since recent patching there is a bit more variety with skill builds with pets and such, but I found once I got my dh to level 60, I was not able to play anything but her for almost 3 months straight. I have a 60 barb and wd that are both mp 10 capable and eat up most of my time now, but if I upg her xbow anytime soon she will be back out in force for some time to come.

    Try the class you will be surprised.

  8. Iv neglected the WD, wizard, DH, and monk, mainly because I close the game from sheer boredom when I play anyone other than the barb. Eventually I closed the game from being tired of just mowing down easy monsters by myself. Pubs are shit, all my friends quit. Not to sound super fucking downer, but thats D3, and from what I have heard from many others, that was D3 for alot of people.

  9. I’ve played all five classes softcore up to 60 and the DH *by far* dies the most often. Total deaths (which I track) are roughly three times higher.

    The recent Wizard buffs I understood, but my Monk was very survivable before 1.07. There are just too many creatures which vortex or teleport or otherwise force DH’s to close range. Blizzard really needs another round of DH buffs.

    So yes, it makes perfect sense as a hardcore player to stay away from the DH. Too squishy.

  10. dh was my main for a little while after release (I went wiz>dh>barb>wiz as far as mains)

    I rage quit my dh in 1.03 with the attack speed nerf. not only did everything 1 shot me (okay that wouldn’t happen now) but they had just destroyed my killing power.

    also when I play hardcore with my buddy, every time hes used a dh I’ve told him “don’t use a quiver, put on a shield” and every time hes died (I have a low level wd and a wizard, both sacrificing dps for a shield, have yet to die at all)

    although I’ve had the itch to dust of the dh and give him some more up to date gear, I definitally wouldn’t play them on hardcore.

    also in d2. in 10 years of playing amazon is the only class I never played. and I only made 2 druids and 2 assassins in all of my playtime. in fact 99% of all my hundreds of characters in diablo 2 were either necromancer or paladin

  11. Well I know at least two awesome HC DH’s (300k DPS) so it can be done. See it as a challenge 😉

  12. It seems I had quite the opposite experience with a DH than you.
    I never enjoyed Amazons, and while I thought Assassins were cool, I never finished Hell LoD with one. I highly favored melee classes especially Barbs, but found Pallys not even worth of beeing mules.

    I didn’t had much fun with DH in the Beta, but it is now a class I really like, especially because of her high mobility. My favourite class is the Barb, btw.

    Mobilty and range were the two main factors which made me feel that it’s the only class I could beat hardcore Inferno without dying or at all.

    So I beat Inferno in my first playthrough in hardcore with my DH. I bought usefull gear at the AH at low price, my equippement total price is 4-5M and is largely enough to have no trouble.
    I only had one time where my health dropped low, I drank very few potions to a point where I was scared to not have the reflex to do it if needed.

    I used sentry for their huge DPS, and it allowed me to focus on not dying while still doing damage.
    Smokescreen for reflect damage monsters and to avoid heated situation. I found Vault with rattling roll helpfull to get past monsters blocking your retreat, which you can’t do with Smokescreen, and it is also cheaper in terms of Discipline. You can also break Jail with it. I kept Preparation as my last resource. Tactical advantage is a must, it works with Vault and Smokescreen.

    For vortex monsters I tried to put an obstacle between me and the monsters, and sentry helped still doing damage. There are only two packs I didn’t kill : a tremor molten pack and a pack of morlu caster just before I went to face Diablo in Inferno, I didn’t want to risk dying that close of the final battle.

    I mostly used a bow because I feel more comfortable with the ias over a xbow, and it eat less Hatred than a 1h xbow, and i found very cheap ones (+1000DPS + CH DMG: 2K gold) on the AH.

    I equipped my templar with a cold weapon, and it’s way more usefull than a better DPS.

    Here is my char:

    As you can see, no godly gear nor stats.

    I should say that while I accomplish my goal to beat Inferno, it wasn’t a lot of fun and I know why.
    Fisrt I used the AH to buy stuff starting Hell therefore I was always ahead in terms of DPS and survivabilty, thus no real challenge. Normal and Nightmare are easy.
    Second, I was so cautious about not dying, that I didn’t take any risk, so I didn’t have the feeling of overcoming things.
    Third I used a follower.

    I didn’t do any of that in SC and I had much more fun. Hardcore is really boring to me.

    If your goal is to beat Inferno with a DH, then it’s largley doable without much pain, however if you wish to have fun doing it, I don’t have the recipe for you.

  13. NO big deal. We can’t really like them all.

    I, for example, can’t get into the barbarian (again), since D2. He is just too…savage for my tastes 😀

  14. I played HC only during D2. The only high level characters I lost to gameplay died due to Iron Maiden. However, I think it’s the real money auction house more than anything that kept me from going to HC here. I wanted to sell some stuff, and I did.

    I don’t play anymore though, it is the Amazon that keeps me going back to D2, it’s my favourite character class of all time in any game I’ve ever played, by far. I like lots of things about D2, and there is no powerful draw like the Zon to bring me back to D3.

Comments are closed.