So you’ve chosen the Witch Doctor! Congrats you’ve already made a very good decision. As a level 60 Demon Hunter in Inferno, I can undoubtedly say that this is the class that is the most effective at killing enemies.
Let’s start with some basic notions about the Demon Hunter Class:
- Extreme DPS – The Demon Hunter can do the most damage out of all the classes at this point in the game.
- A variety of builds – At first there were only 1 or 2 builds that were viable for the Demon Hunter, but as the game has progressed there have been more and more viable builds that have come about.
- High maneuverability – In the higher levels of Inferno, this is the only way in which Demon Hunter can survive: by not getting hit in the first place. As such, Demon Hunters can get around the battlefield with a plethora of skills which is necessary for most Demon Hunter Builds.
- Great Solo Play – The Demon Hunter was the first class that was able to farm Inferno, and they did it alone. While helpful in groups, they thrive in solo.
- Dual Resources – The Demon Hunter is the only class in the game with two resources to keep track of – Hatred and Discipline. This dynamic keeps the class fast-paced and fun to play.
These are core concepts of the Demon Hunter that are important to know and remember throughout your journey as a Demon Hunter. Keep them in mind as you grind and slay your way to Inferno!
Act 1 in Normal difficulty is long, but relatively easy and gives you a fantastic opportunity to practice your skills without dying too frequently. The penalty for dying is very small, so do not worry about the occasional death (although it can largely be avoided, especially as a Demon Hunter).
NOTE: This section is identical to the one found in the Wizard guide.
We highly recommend that you primarily work your way through the game with a party. Partying is a way to synthesize the strengths of the different classes in order to level as quickly as possible. In addition, people in games can exchange/trade item drops that might not work for their class, but might be ideal for a different class. If you do not have friends at or around your same level, don’t fret, Blizzard’s public game feature is fantastic. Simply go into the Battle Net Interface and join a public game at or around your skill level.
Finding the right party is extremely important for efficiently leveling up as quickly as possible. First you must know, the basic classifications/attributes of heroes in Diablo 3:
- Witch Doctor
- Demon Hunter
In addition, heroes can also be divided into melee vs. ranged:
- Demon Hunter
- Witch Doctor
It is extremely important for your party to have a diversity of classes. When partying in a group of two, look for a melee hero (Barbarian/Monk) to tank, while you dish out the damage. In a group of three or four, try to have a diversity of melee/ranged and intelligence/dexterity/strength heroes. When additional people join the game, monsters also gain more hit points (75% more, 110% in Inferno) so it’s important that your group does not have too much overlap or deadweight. If you join a public game with too many of one primary attribute or no melee hero to tank, do not hesitate in leaving and joining another game. This will be better in the long run for both you and your party.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get onto the game!
Skills & Runes
Newbies and Veterans to the Diablo series alike both need to relearn the skills and runes mechanics for Diablo 3. For a review of these mechanics, take a look at our skills and runes pages. In this guide, we’ll be focused on the most important skills & runes you will be unlocking. Blizzard has created a tool where you can see the natural progression of skill & rune unlocking so you can plan your build out all the way to level 60, which is great! But before you get too far into selecting skills & runes, make sure to turn on elective mode so you have full control over the skills & runes that you choose.
Throughout most of act one the skills that you will get are very straightforward. You will only have 1-3 different skill slots to choose from. But by the end of Act 1 Normal you’ll just be unlocking a 4th active skill slot and a passive skill. The game is at it’s easiest ever during this act, making it a great point to experiment with different skill & rune combinations! As a level 60 Demon Hunter grinding in Act 1,2, and 3/4 of Inferno I’ve experimented with a lot of different builds. Here are the skills that you will want to look at for your first Normal Act 1 run:
- Hungering Arrow (lvl 1) – Super straightforward and very noob friendly, since it seeks out targets. Besides that it isn’t super sexy, but good solid damage and it has the chance to hit multiple targets.
- Puncturing Arrow (lvl 6) – The first rune unlocked! Basically makes the original skill better, increasing the chance to hit multiple targets to 50%.
- Impale(lvl 2) – The second skill that you unlock is one of the highest damaging abilities in the game. Great for taking down high-health enemies, this skill does a whopping 250% weapon damage. Nice. The only thing to keep in mind is that it takes a considerable amount of Hatred to use, so it can’t be spammed too much.
- Impact(lvl 7) – This rune is actually pretty convenient for the Demon Hunter. It knocks enemies away, so it totally falls in line with the “never get hit” philosophy of the Demon Hunter. As an added bonus, it has a 65% chance to stun.
- Entangling Shot (lvl 3) – A great alternative to Hungering Arrow. While it does less damage, the skill immobilizes up to 2 enemies, reducing their movement speed by 60% for 2 seconds. Comes in handy when kiting.
- Chain Gang (lvl 9) – Now you can immobilize up to 4 targets. Nice addition when taking on groups.
- Caltrops(lvl 4) – This is the first discipline-consuming skill, and the first trap skill that you get. It is great and used all the way to Inferno, but unfortunately the skill does lose some of its effectiveness against Elites. Great for kiting.
- Hooked Spines (lvl 12) – First rune unlocked for Caltrops. Makes the trap more effective, slowing to 80% of their original speed.
- Rapid Fire (lvl 5) – Rapid fire is a great Hatred-spender. It costs 20 Hatred initially and then 10 Hatred per second to channel, but at 228% weapon damage this skill can take massive chunks out the enemies health bar. Absolutely great for clumps of monsters and for stationary bosses.
- Withering Fire (lvl 11) – A nice addition, this rune decreases the initial Hatred cost and also changes the type of damage you deal to Fire. This isn’t a huge deal, as only a few enemies have resistance to fire, and they are mostly located in Act 3.
- Smoke Screen (lvl 8) – This skill was so good initially that Blizzard had to nerf it so that Demon Hunters wouldn’t be overpowered. It was the way in which Demon Hunters were able to clear Inferno so quickly. While you are invisible, you do not take damage. This has some great uses for when you are simply unable to dodge an incoming missile or enemy attack.
- Vault (lvl 9) – To sum this skill up in one word: maneuverability. This skill supplies the Demon Hunter with the ability to get around the battlefield quickly. This is one of the discipline-spenders, so it can only be used sparingly.
To start off, those are plenty of skills to play around with. As a Demon Hunter, you will be finding more and more high-damage abilities, so enjoy seeing those numbers when you take down enemies. As for passive skills, you will get a slot at level 10. Here’s what we recommend:
- Thrill of the Hunt (lvl 10) – Allows any shot to immobilize an enemy every 10 seconds. Not super complicated but effective.
- Vengeance (lvl 13) – I would use this passive as soon as it is available. The extra Hatred allows you to take down enemies much more quickly, which outweighs the added immobilization from Thrill of the Hunt by a long shot.
I’d recommend choosing skills that balance Hatred consumption as well as balancing snare/stun capabilities. Combining things like Entangling Shot and Caltrops is frankly unnecessary as they duplicate alot of the same functionality (slowing down enemies). If you want to move quickly through the act, synergize your skill selection and select one snare, a nice damage dealing, high hatred consumption spell (hello Impale), a good escape spell, and a good primary skill. Keep experimenting throughout Act 1 – it’s a great place to try things out and get used to your class. Have fun with it!
Quests & Bosses
The quests in Act 1 are self-explanatory and easy. We recommend simply playing them, and don’t anticipate too much trouble if you follow our basic skill & item principles. One of the more difficult early quests is the Reign of the Black King where you will fight one of the first bosses, the Skeleton King. While this is more difficulty than the majority of Act 1, simply keeping a good distance between yourself and the skeleton king, run when the Skeleton King teleports close to you, use potions (hit Q!) when you are in low health and kill additional minions when he summons them and your party should be able to take down the Skeleton King. Slow him with Caltrops and spam damage on him and you’ll be able to slowly dent and reduce his large bar of health. Mobs will gradually get more and more difficult throughout Act 1, but don’t fret as dying hardly comes with hardly any penalties. Stick with your party and use our basic Demon Hunter principles and Act 1 will be a breeze.
The hardest part of Act 1 comes at the end when you fight the Butcher (Act 1 Boss). Pay close attention to the Butcher’s movements. Against bosses like this, it’s important to practice the principles of moving while shooting. In other words, you should unleash an attack, and while your spell is on a cooldown, move your Demon Hunter. Use this when you’re using Entangling Shot, Hungering Arrow, or Impale. Against someone like the Butcher, this prevents your enemy from locking in and killing you with his charge or other array of attacks. Keep your distance, and avoid locations that the Butcher sets on fire. If you die and you have a party member still alive, DO NOT RESPAWN at the nearest waypoint as an ally can resurrect you and allow you to rejoin the fight. When an enemy dies, try to resurrect them if the Butcher is far away from the corpse.
At the beginning stages of the game, the best way to acquire new items is to take them off critters or through the in-game vendors. You should pick-up any magical (blue) or rare (yellow) items that fall from monsters. Don’t worry about any other types of weapons as they will almost always be inferior to their magical & rare counterparts. When you pick up the items, you should be able to quickly evaluate and determine the value of the item. If it’s better the current item you’re using, equip it. If not, keep it in your inventory and sell it to a vendor for gold.
For the Demon Hunter early on (and throughout most of the game, actually), your DPS is the most important thing. Not dying is much easier at the early stages of the game, so sacrificing some hit points & armor for extra damage is recommended to speed up the process. With the Demon Hunter there’s a number of ways to increase your damage. The easiest and most important is increasing the overall DPS of your weapon. This is easy to do with Blizzard’s item comparison feature (simply hover over an item). You can also see your overall damage, by hitting “I” to look at your inventory and looking at the damage metric. If a weapon increases your DPS, equip it. For the Demon Hunter there are other ways to increase your damage through other items. Items that increases Dexterity or attack speed or even raw damage will all help to improve the damage you do. Use the Blizzard item comparison feature, to optimize your character and do insane damage.
If you find that you are dying, try to boost your vitality (increases hp) or armor (reduces % damage taken), or practice avoiding projectiles and enemies. From my experience, this is not something that you really need to watch out for at this point of the game and I prefer to boost my character through pure damage. In this act especially, having items that increase the experience gained from monsters are also important to increase the speed of your leveling process. They will have a relatively large effect early on when it doesn’t take as much experience to level up.
At D3SG we don’t recommend leveling up crafting or using the auction house at this point. Your gold is best used on vendors or saved up for later parts of the game. We find that during Normal Act 1, these abilities do not give you the best bang for your buck.
If an image of your character in yellow shows up at the top right portion of your screen your character has damaged items. To repair them, simply go to a vendor, click the repairing tab and click the Repair Allbutton. You should only rarely have to do this, but as the game gets increasingly difficult it will become a more frequent occurrence.
While this guide largely assumes you are playing in a party, if you find yourself going solo you will want to hire a follower. This costs no money, so there is no reason not to as it helps to provide additional support. For the Demon Hunter, I like the Templar as a supporting follower at this point. He acts like a summon and can help clog and tank enemies as well as heal you. It is generally not a good idea to rely on followers for damage, as they’re damage is minute compared to your powerful blasts. The Templarwill be unlocked midway through Act 1, and to hire him simply talk to him at Tristram and tell him to follow you. I recommend you choose the following skills (hit the F key) for your templar:
- Heal (lvl 5) – This heals you or your templar for 4651 life. At this point that will be your entire health bar.
- Loyalty (lvl 10) – This regenerates life for you and the templar. Nice to keep you alive and well throughout the battle.