(This guide is a work in progress; be sure to check on it as I update. Please leave comments below and I'll be sure to thank you as I update the guide.)Philosophy
The Hunter is a trapper / ranger hybrid build that emphasizes the use of stealth, traps, and support skills to complement the power of your chosen ranged weapon. This build is very easy to play early in the game since you will be using very little mana, and very effective late in the game, capable of wiping out large mobs with ease before they even know what hit them. The main idea behind the Hunter's play style is to tilt the odds of every battle in her favor before triggering the monsters' aggro. This entails finding the best position to fight from, setting up your traps, and then luring the mobs right into them. If you play the game strategically and approach every group of enemies with a plan before you attack, you'll be virtually unstoppable with this build. Your weapon choice will obviously be either a bow, pistols, or rifle. Personally I just don't think there's anything more beautiful than a sexy lady with a huge gun.
See what I mean?Stat point distribution:
Strength: none. All of the best gear for this build will almost always have Dexterity and Defense requirements. When you find good items with high Strength or Magic requirements, chances are you probably already have something about as good that only requires Dex and Def.
Magic: none. You will need a good amount of mana to use your skills, but you'll be able to get by with bonuses from gear and mana leech from your weapon.
Everything goes into Dexterity and Defense. Play around with it as you like; I recommend putting enough into Dexterity that you're killing at a decent rate, and pumping the rest into Defense. When you get to level 25 and can use all of your skills, it'll be easier to mow down mobs before they can reach you; at this point it's best to just keep pumping Dexterity so you can kill even more quickly. As a stealth based character, your best defense is not getting hit in the first place. Of course it also depends a lot on what difficulty level you're playing the game, and whether or not you're playing in Hardcore mode.Equipment:Enchants:
(new section, needs lots of work)My next step in working on this guide is to figure out which are the most useful enchants to get on your gear, and how much of each you'll need. This is a major factor of the gameplay, and I think it may even end up being its own separate guide. If that ends up being the case, I'll post a link here.
Some tips on enchanting items: Enchanting in town or on a shrine always carries the risk that your gear will lose all of its enchants, so proceed with caution. The best way to deal with the risk is to keep a backup set of gear in your stash. If you find an item to replace something you've been using for a long time, don't sell the old one; keep it in your stash in case you try enchanting your new toy and it loses all its mods. The second important point to keep in mind, is to enchant all of your items, not just one particular favorite. If you're spreading the enchants around, it's a lot less painful to lose all the enchants from a particular item. Weapons:
(section needs work)
Here you have three choices:
-Two hander: Rifle, Bow, or Crossbow
-Pistol and Shield
Pistol and Shield has the obvious benefit of more defense and blocking, so this should be the choice for players in Hardcore mode where survival is the top priority (maybe the top five priorities). Rifles and Bows have longer range, faster base attack speed, and generally higher damage than pistols; range and speed only matter for your normal attack but DPS is crucial to your skills' damage. With the right enchants though you can still get pistols that have DPS in the same ballpark as rifles. Of course, with two pistols you also have the option of investing in the Dual Wield skill, but that eats up to 10 skill points, so you'll need to decide for yourself if it's worth it. Also, with two pistols you'll have more base enchants, although you can put just as many enchants on one rifle as on two pistols.
I use a rifle, mainly because it's the best weapon I've found so far, and I've been very lucky with enchanting it. However, I also like the advantages that a rifle has over pistols with its normal attack, and I've been able to get a lot of mileage out of this. Whenever I'm fighting one enemy at a time, I use my normal attack. It's very fast, leeches a ton of life and mana per hit, and appears to have better knockback than I get with my skills (I'm not sure how or if knockback bonuses transfer over to skills, so this might just be my imagination).
Get the fastest weapon you can find and enchant the hell out of it. Remember to keep your second best weapon in your stash, in case Goren messes up and wipes off all your enchantments! The most important mods are DPS
, critical damage
, casting speed[\b], [b]knockback
, attack speed
, life and mana leech
, in roughly that order. There's not really a best gem to put in your sockets; just use whatever gives you bonuses that you're lacking from the rest of your gear.Armor:
as hari points out:
"Chance to reflect missile damage" stacks. If you get it over 100% all arrows and even some spells like Fireball and Poison Bolt just bounce off you. Archers will actually kill themselves buy attacking you.
- Block is an amazing thing. You can block all damage no matter how big it is or what the source of the damage is. If you sacrifice two 1-handed weapons or 2-handed weapon for a shield + 1-handed weapon, you should be able to get 35+% block with 10 points in Block and Perry skill fairly easy. Keep in mind though that 35% blocking isn't exactly the same as 35% damage reduction; it's 100% damage reduction, 35% of the time. Meaning that if you come across a tough guy who can kill you in 1 hit, you're still want to avoid getting hit!
- Higher armor value makes all the difference. Especially if you have level 10 Armor Expertise skill.
- "Physical and elemental damage taken is reduced" is also a thing to look for in armor.
- And we mustn't forget about elemental resistance either.
- Investing points into defense increases your damage absorb for a certain percent. So you will benefit more from the points invested the higher value armor you have.Skill distribution:
This build focuses on (1) finding the best weapon you can get your hands on and (2) building your skill set in a way that maximizes your weapon's damage potential. Your main damage dealing skill will be Explosive Shot, which depends on your weapon's DPS. This lets you focus on increasing your damage by getting a better weapon, allowing you to spend your skill points on all those wonderful passives. Your traps and other attack skills are there for support: you'll be doing damage mainly with your gun, but using traps to cripple the mobs so you can destroy them even faster.
These guidelines should keep you busy until your character is level 50 or so. If you plan to play longer, the rest is up to you.Max these:
Ranged Weapon Expertise (max this before putting a second point into any of your other skills), Critical Strikes, Armor Expertise, Barter, Treasure Hunter (max Barter and TH if you plan to keep playing after you beat Ordrak).Season to taste:
Explosive Shot, Devouring Trap, Shock Trap, Flechette Trap, Seeking Shot, Dual Wield, Adventurer, Armor Expertise, Block and Parry, Pet Mastery, Magic Weapon Expertise.1 point wonders:
Ricochet, Needle Arc (optional), Wind of Justice, Frost Pilum (optional), Hamstring, Advanced Spellcasting, Arrow Hail.
First off, why max out Barter and Treasure Hunter? You don't get access to these skills until level 25, and you'll be fighting Ordrak around level 32ish, so maxing these skills is for those of you collectors and Enchant junkies who finish the game and want to keep playing in the Infinite Dungeon. 60% off the Enchant and gambling prices and 25% more loot will go a long way.
Note that most of the attack skills don't necessarily need to be maxed. Explosive Shot depends on your weapon damage, so you're better off by keeping the mana cost low and increasing your damage by getting a higher DPS weapon and boosting your cast speed. Your traps are just there for support, so the marginal benefit of extra points is low. You could make a case for pumping points into Seeking Shot, since it'll be useful in boss fights when you're on the run, but you still can get by with just one point.
Early in the game your main skills will be Ricochet
and Needle Arc
. Before you are able to put points in the fun skills, you'll be pumping your passives, especially RWE and CS. At low levels, monsters are pretty slow. With Needle Arc you'll be able to slow them down even more, and use Ricochet to mow crowds down as they hobble towards you. At higher levels when monsters are faster, Needle Arc doesn't slow them down enough to be that useful, but by then you'll have points in some of your trap skills. At levels 5 and 10 you may want to invest a point in Frost Pilum and Seeking Shot, respectively, but you can get by without them.Wind of Justice
(level 10) will buy you precious breathing room whenever you need it. It also has a chance to stun enemies for two seconds, so it's a good idea to cast it a couple of times so that you're more likely to trigger then stun effect. The knockback and stun are a lot more useful to you than the actual damage dealt, so it's best to leave this at level 1 and keep the mana cost low. Seeking Shot
(level 10) doesn't appear to do much damage, going by the skill description, but remember it fires three shots. It's incredibly accurate, and will be very useful in Boss battles, since for the most part you'll be on the run.Explosive Shot
(level 15) is an awesome attack, but you won't want to abandon Ricochet just yet. As a general rule you'll want to use Ricochet on mobs that are more spread out or standing in a line, especially in tight spaces so the shot passes through the crowd a few times, but use Explosive Shot when the mobs are packed tightly. Later on, when you get Arrow Hail you may find it more useful than Ricochet for hitting monsters behind the front lines, since Ricochet is unpredictable.Flechette Trap
(level 15) is great for laying down some extra fire power on the mobs, and slowing down anything that charges right at you. Shock Trap will do a bit more damage, but Flechette Trap deals Physical Damage, as opposed to Electrical, which means it affects everyone equally, regardless of any resistances. Also, it synergizes with Devouring Trap and fires more shots at a faster speed, so it can hammer mobs fast enough to lock them in a hit recovery animation. Plus the ricochet effect makes it that much more fun to use in cramped corridors and so on.
(Special thanks to Harwel and MistahFixIt)Devouring Trap
(level 20) significantly lowers enemies' defense rating, which is just an indirect way of giving a huge boost to your weapon damage (since less damage is being absorbed). For you former Diablo 2 players, this skill works just like Amplify Damage. Monsters won't notice when you throw a Devouring Trap, so it's good to toss out a few before you open fire. Note that this skill will also enhance the damage done by Arrow Hail. The other huge benefit of Devouring Trap is its chance to stun enemies. If you throw out multiple traps, then all of them are attempting to stun and so the success rate goes even higher.Shock Trap
(level 25) is a great shield to put between you and the charging mobs. It doesn't do a ton of damage, but it's great at slowing them down before they reach you. Monsters go into their hit recovery animation when they're being shocked, and it's stunning effect is more useful than the damage itself.Hamstring
(level 25) has two great uses: the obvious one of crippling your enemies before opening a firefight, and the extra benefit of being able to make a quick retreat if things get too dicey. One point is good enough for this skill, since the main benefits for our play style are the slowing effects, and those don't scale up fast enough to be worth the extra points spent.Arrow Hail
(level 25) is a very useful support skill, if you know how to use it tactically. It's great for enemies in hard to reach places, and on the casters that are standing behind the charging mobs. The greatest advantage of Arrow Hail over any other skill is that you can cast it anywhere on screen, even on monsters standing around corners, behind walls, or on ledges where you can't shoot. Use this skill to wipe out mobs that you can't hit with your gun -- if you can't shoot them, they can't fight back. But they will stand still long enough for a few Arrow Hails to wipe them out. This feature alone makes Arrow Hail a must-have for every Vanquisher.Spells
This section needs a lot of work. For now, I recommend you check out what people have to say on this thread
At least one of your pet's skills should be a summoning spell; either Skeletons
. Skeletons are faster and more aggressive than Zombies, but there's a bug when the pets use the spell so that they only summon one skeleton at a time. Until that bug is fixed (and someone please let me know when it is, in case I miss it), I'd recommend Zombies. Another good spell to look out for is Summon Blood Skeleton
; these guys are tough! It's a rare spell though, so keep checking the vendors for it. Blood Skeleton is not bugged on pets the way that the normal skeletons are.
I also like Heal All
, but since you don't control when your pet casts spells, you might not get healed when you need it most. One solution to this is to put two different levels of Heal All on your pet (for example, Heal All 3 and Heal All 4, etc.). The cooldown timers are independent, so your pet will cast the spell much more often. Silence
is also a good one to have later in the game when you run into more powerful casters. A nasty mob of these can take you down in a second.Retribution
will help your pet get out of danger and stay alive longer. The tradeoff of course is that your pet only has one other spell to help you out, so make sure it's a good one.
While we're on the subject of pets, keep your pet on defensive mode. You won't be on the front lines giving him the support he needs to stay alive; and passive pets don't cast spells.
Make sure to buy or find the spells early, since as you advance in the game you won't be able to buy level 1 spells in town any more! Strategy:
Once you have your full skill set, I generally approach mobs like this:Step One: Scout the Battle Field
- Find a safe choke point
between you and the mob, staying far enough away that they don't see you. A good choke point is one that leaves no chance of you being surrounded in a fight. If there are no good choke points, then at a bare minimum explore the area to make sure you won't find yourself surrounded
after you begin your attack.Step Two: Lay Your Defenses
- Drop some Shock Traps and some Flechette Traps at your feet. These will protect you from the stampeding mobs you are about to severely piss off. Whether you prefer Shock Traps or Flechettes is irrelevant; each has a one second casting delay, so it's more effective just to alternate so you can lay more traps faster.Step Three: Launch the Attack
- Throw out a bunch of Devouring Traps
; be sure to hold Shift when you throw so that you get a longer range (I prefer to switch the Shift key functions to the Spacebar, more on that at the end of the guide). Throwing these out before your other traps will stun a few of the monsters, without triggering their AI. I like to throw 2 or 3 around the mob, and one more in front of me.
- Throw out as many Flechette Traps and Shock Traps as you can, and maybe even an Arrow Hail or two on top of the mob, until they charge and you have to start shooting them.
- Quickly use Hamstring
to run through the mob, then get back to your choke point before they know what hit them.
(Steps Two and Three should only take a few seconds. Get a faster cast rate if you can't execute all of them before the mobs reach you. Use your judgment and throw out more or fewer traps, depending on the size of the mob. Always assume there are more monsters ahead than the ones you can actually see.)Step Four: Open Fire
- Use Explosive Shot
when there are crowds coming after you. Mix in a few normal attacks every now and then to leech back some life and mana (make sure you have plenty of leech, and a good knockback rating).
- Switch to your normal attack
when there are only one or two monsters left. This lets you leech back more life and mana before your next fight.
- If at any point the monsters get to close, push them back with Wind of Justice
. It doesn't hurt to cast this 2 or 3 times to make sure you successfully stun the enemies.Step Five: Move On
- Pick up your loot, cast your Haste spell and search for more prey.
Other useful tactics I've picked up:
- Once you've set up your traps and triggered a mob, use Explosive Shot to gun down the monsters who charge you, and keep dropping Arrow Hails on the casters behind them.
- If you encounter a mob in a corner of the map, throw out your Traps, cast a couple of Arrow Hails on top of them, and just keep using Wind of Justice to force them back into the corner when they try to run out. It's like locking them in a building and setting it on fire.
- Flechetted Traps' bullets will ricochet, so they're especially effective in corners.
- You can never throw out too many traps.
- (suggestions welcome!)Boss Fights
Against bosses, you're going to be on the run, so the stealth tactics are out the window. Stay far away, don't get hit, run in circles casting Devouring Trap, Arrow Hail, and Seeking Shot or Explosive Shot. Try to lure the boss into the AH's, and shoot at them from a safe distance.
When you're up against bosses that summon minions, try to always be engaging them so that they are too busy to summon. Having your own minions will help out a lot to keep the boss busy, buying you time to throw out more traps instead of always having to be shooting and running to safety. If you rely on your pet to cast one or two summoning spells, keep your pet healthy; he won't summon when he's fleeing. (Make sure you stock up on healing potions before boss fights, or learn Heal All.)Key controls:
It's very easy to access all your skills at once with this build. Make sure to move the Shift key functions to the Spacebar, which will make it much easier to stand in place and throw a variety of traps at the same time. I like to keep my thumb on the Spacebar, four fingers on WoJ and my three traps (keys 2-5 or 3-6), with my potions and buffing spells on either side.
I use this setup:
1: Wind of Justice
2: Devouring Trap
3: Shock Trap
4: Flechette Trap
6: Arrow Hail
7: Healing Potion
8: Mana Potion
0: Town Portal (plan to change this)
F1: Freezing Pilum
F3: Seeking Shot
F4: Explosive Shot
Eventually you won't even need to use the F3 and F4 keys very much, since it's a lot faster to cast your support skills with the number keys, and Explosive Shot will really be your only attack skill that you use with the mouse. You'll want to keep it mapped to one of the F keys though, in case you ever use a spell like Identify that you haven't mapped to a key, but right click to use it: doing this will map the spell to your right mouse button and you'll need to quickly reassign that to Explosive Shot before you jump back in the fray.IMPORTANT:
As a ranged attacker, you're going to want to be standing still most of the time that you're attacking. This is a bit annoying with the default controls, since you want to be able to hit numbers 1-6 and F1-F4 easily, while holding down the Shift button. I'm finding that it's MUCH more comfortable to switch the "hold still" command to the Spacebar
, and the "pause" command to the Caps Lock key. Don't just swap the functions of the Spacebar and Shift; otherwise you'll pause the game every time you try moving items to your pet, or auto-selling or buying from vendors!
To change keybindings, read Abnovita's post Howto: Change Keybindings
. It takes 5 minutes to do and it makes gameplay a lot easier.
To re-map Shift key functions to the Spacebar, look for the following lines in the "settings.txt" file:
KEYMAP_CONSOLEKEY_HOLD : change these from 16 to 32
To re-map Spacebar to Caps Lock, look for:
KEYMAP_CLOSEALL : change this from 32 to 20
Then save, of course.
This is a very easy setup to use, since with your thumb on the spacebar and four fingers on keys 2 through 5, you'll never need to move around the keyboard in the middle of a battle. Healing and Haste are easily accessible in case you need them.
I'll add more later, but for now, please tell me what you think!Special Thanks:
hari, Harwel, MistahFixit,