Demon Hunter

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The Demon Hunter is the ranged attacking class. They specialize in bows and crossbows, which they supplement with numerous ranged attacks, traps of various types, and even a few melee range skills.

The Demon Hunter was the fifth and final playable class revealed for Diablo III and was announced in October 2010 at Blizzcon.

Background[edit | edit source]

Diablo III Class
The Demon Hunter
Skills: Demon Hunter skills
Passives: Demon Hunter Passives
Resource: Discipline & Hatred
Common builds:
Origin: The Borderlands.
Affiliation: Bounty Hunters.
Friends: Unknown
Foes: All demon kind.

The demon hunters are a group of fanatical warriors sworn to a single purpose: the destruction of the creatures of the Burning Hells. The demon hunters make their home in the Borderlands, away from the jurisdiction of any nation. At any time, over half of them are dispatched to various parts of the world to fight hellspawn. There is something in all demon hunters that gives them the strength to resist the demonic corruption that would drive lesser men to madness. They hone this power, for their resistance to this taint enables them to use the demons' power as a weapon. But their mission and their power are not all that bind them together.

The female Demon Hunter in Diablo III fled from her village as a child during a demonic invasion. She was the only survivor. After days, she was found by a Demon Hunter and was taken in as a member. Since every Demon Hunter has a story like this, it is possible that the background for the male character will be similar.

Class Design[edit | edit source]

Blizzcon 2010's Gameplay Panel called "A Hero Emerges" was dominated by the Demon Hunter's Class Design. The Demon Hunter fills out the rpg-archetype of a conventional ranged class, using ranged weaponry mostly and primarily. She is designed as a sort of "Bounty Hunter", preparing for battle and therefore using gadgets and traps as well.

Jay Wilson described the class genesis in an interview published in the Blizzcon 2010 show program:


Where did the idea for the Demon Hunter come from?
Jay Wilson: It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that we chose a ranged-weapon class as the fifth class; however we didn’t want to do something completely predictable. We liked the idea of a bounty hunter or a monster-hunter—someone who was a little bit more sinister and an aggressor—and so we came up with a character whose sole focus was, “I hate demons.” She’s had horrible things happen to her. She’s lost family, lost loved ones, and has dedicated her life to eradicating as many demons as she can by any means possible. As a character, she’s walked a lot of dark roads to gain the knowledge she needs to overcome her enemy.
With the demon hunter we found inspiration in characters like Van Helsing, Boba Fett, and even MacGyver. The demon hunter is very focused on conventional, man-made weaponry and gadgets. She dual-wields crossbows, and where one class might conjure a magical fireball, the demon hunter would buy a device in the lower markets of Caldeum that would allow her to trap the essence of a demon and then release that essence in an explosive blast, not unlike a hand grenade. She has no qualms about using her enemies against themselves, dabbling in dark magic, and generally doing whatever it takes to destroy demons wherever they live.

Male Demon Hunter[edit | edit source]

Male Demon Hunter.

The male Demon Hunter wasn't ready to be shown at Blizzcon 2010, just like the female Monk wasn't ready at Blizzcon 2009. She was revealed early in 2010, and the male demon hunter was revealed [2] in February of 2011.

@Diablo teased this in a tweet on January 13, 2011. [3]

How’s the male DH progressing?
He’s doing well. He’s supposed to be stopping by sometime next week actually. We’ll see. You know how he is. -Diablo

Ranger Design Evolution[edit | edit source]

The team has talked about the evolution of the character concept. They knew from the start that they wanted a ranged attacking class, but weren't at all sure what kind or what the lore would be. Christian Lichtner spoke on that from Blizzcon 2010:[4]

Christian Lichtner: For the Demon Hunter, for example, we had a desert ranger at some point and it was awesome, it was really cool. It was an interesting take on the ranger, we didn't have that before. Like all our other classes, we tried to give it a little bit of a twist. One of the things with that was when we were doing the desert ranger, we found that stuff was getting a little bit clunky, we had a little too much cloth on him. And while it looks really cool, it also starts looking bulkier. And whenever we start seeing a class that looks really bulky, we start thinking short sword, or daggers, or fist weapons - stuff you can melee with. We wanted to strive to stay away from that. There have been other ideas that we had that were really, really cool that I think we're going to save.

Design Evolution[edit | edit source]

The design of the Archer / Demon Hunter was detailed in a series of slides during the Blizzcon 2010 Gameplay Panel, compilation images of which can be seen below.

Melee Combat?[edit | edit source]

There were no melee combat skills for the Demon Hunter at Blizzcon 2010, but during the panel discussion the team talked about earlier designs of the character where she had one demonic arm and huge strength, along with some melee combat skills. Those may or may not return in further design.

Jay Wilson spoke on this from Blizzcon 2010: [5]

Fan of Knives in action.
GP: Like the Amazon before it, will the Demon Hunter be able to spec for melee?
Jay Wilson: We haven’t really decided on that yet! We’ve focused initially away from melee oriented abilities because we’re trying to capture the essence of the class, and the essence isn’t melee.
That being said, on the Wizard, we certainly did a lot of things that were more melee oriented, recognizing that there are some players that may want to create a “battle mage,” you know? So there is the capacity to do that for that character. If we find a compelling archetype in our heads then we’ll try to make skills that suit that.
The only skill for the Demon Hunter that we have right now that does kind of fit the bill is called Fan of Knives where she throws an array of knives a very short distance all around her. It’s not a melee skill but it is a very close range skill.
If we can come up with a great idea for a melee build then we’ll definitely do that as long as it doesn’t detract from the core of who she is as a character.

Bashiok also spoke on this in October 2010.[6]

The demon hunter isn't restricted to ranged weapons but is of course the core archetype of the class. It's a bit early for determining usable weapons still, but I know at the least one-handers/shields are planned to be usable. And it's likely there will at least be some traits that improve melee weapon use.

Demon Hunter Active Skills[edit | edit source]

Nine Demon Hunter active skills were revealed at BlizzCon 2010. At that time, Blizzard also revealed the new skill system, with all passive skills moved to traits. However, At the July 2011 Press Event, it was revealed that traits had been changed back to passive skills. Also, the Demon Hunter was shown with a full complement of skills.

The following is a very quick list. See the Demon Hunter skills page for a more thorough summary, or any of the individual skills pages for full information.

Offense[edit | edit source]

More than just bows can be equipped.
  • Hungering Arrow - An arrow skill that does bonus damage and has a seeking property.
  • Entangling Shot - A ranged attack that slows the target, potentially chaining it to nearby enemies.
  • Evasive Fire - A ranged attack combined with a backflip if enemies are in close range.
  • Fan of Knives - AKA "knife nova." Short range attack sprays a volley of knives in a circle around the Demon Hunter.
  • Bola Shot - A ranged attack that wraps around the target and explodes.
  • Grenades - Throws multiple grenades which detonate after a short count down.
  • Chakram - Fire a swirling Chakram that does physical damage to enemies along its path.
  • Impale - Fire a massive shot to impale a target.
  • Spike Trap - A trap which opens into spike-filled vortex, grinding any demons stepping on it.
  • Elemental Arrow - Shoot an elemental charged arrow that deals Fire damage to all targets it passes through.
  • Multishot - A ranged attack firing a flurry of arrows at a time.
  • Cluster Arrow - Fire a cluster bomb into the ground that spawns multiple grenades which detonate after a short time, causing AoE damage.
  • Rapid Fire - Rapidly fire arrows.
  • Strafe - Shoot at random nearby enemies while moving.
  • Rain of Vengeance - Fire a massive volley of arrows around you. Arrows fall from the sky for several seconds.

Discipline[edit | edit source]

  • Caltrops - Lay a trap of caltrops on the ground that slows enemies and activates when an enemy approaches.
  • Vault - The Demon Hunter's movement ability. Has a shadowy theme and some acrobatics to it.
  • Marked for Death - The marked enemy takes additional damage.
  • Smoke Screen - Vanish behind a wall of smoke, becoming momentarily invisible.
  • Companion - Summon a raven companion that will periodically peck at enemies.
  • Shadow Power - Draw in the power of the shadows, increasing attack speed for a short time.
  • Sentry - Creates a mechanical turret that fires arrows at enemies.

Utility[edit | edit source]

Demon Hunter Passive Skills[edit | edit source]

This is a very quick listing. See the Demon Hunter skills article for more details, or click on any of the individual passive skills for full stats and info.

Demon Hunter Traits[edit | edit source]

Many traits were preserved as passive skills, but a lot them were dropped. See the Demon Hunter traits page for full info on what the traits system looked like.

Resource System[edit | edit source]

The Demon Hunter uses a dual resource system, known as Hatred and Discipline. Hatred (the red portion of the orb) dictates the resource available for offensive attacks, and it regenerates quickly. Discipline determines resources available for the Demon Hunter's defensive maneuvers, and also some of her traps.

Previous comments about the development of the resource are retained below.

The Demon Hunter used quickly-regenerating mana as her resource in the Blizzcon 2010 PvM demo. This was merely a temporary solution, since the team wants to give each class in the game a unique resource. Jay Wilson elaborated on this in an interview from Blizzcon, in October 2010.[7]

GP: What’s the Demon Hunter’s resource system?
Jay: She doesn’t have one yet. Right now she’s just using mana and that’s temporary. It’s our goal that every class have a unique one – and really, I’m not even being coy here, we really don’t have one! We’ve got about five or six ideas on the table.
GP: Care to share a couple of them!?
'Jay: No! [laughs] Mainly because I’m not the primary designer of the Demon Hunter and I don’t want to give away anything that Wyatt might not actually want me to say!

There had been further mentions of the resource system, although nothing overly specific. When the male Demon Hunter debuted, it was with a few interviews where some more information was given about the resource system. Notably, the following quotes give some insight:

In an interview with GamePlanetNZ[8]:

We’ve split their kit into the idea of discipline – prepared, deliberate, precise – a character who builds his traps ahead of time and knows every weakness of his enemy and exactly what he has to do to take it out. Then there’s hatred, this almost blind drive – they can’t stop themselves from getting involved which means they’re probably angry at themselves for having that taint and it makes it worse. So they’re obsessed in that way. Their skills match that: They have some very aggressive skills that come out of that hatred school, and they have discipline skills, that deliberate, intentional preparedness. ...the inspiration for what we’ve done since then has been based on this idea of aggression and hatred versus discipline and self-mastery. So, the skill set definitely reflects those two schools of thought and the resource system reinforces the skill set accordingly. But we’re still testing it and making sure it really plays as smoothly as we want it to.

From an interview with Gamestar[9]:

...he still has the most duality of all our classes. Our Designers developed this cool idea of hatred and discipline as the two aspects of the demon hunter. Those aspects balance out in his abilities. He’s got abilities that are very technical and take a lot of preparation to use, like setting traps or his dead-eye shot. On the other hand, some of his abilities are just pure rage, like firing a lot of arrows or throwing lots of grenades at once.

An interview conducted by DiabloFans[10]:

This character sort of has more duality and has a more unusual field in that the Demon Hunter is so personally obsessed with fighting demons that they almost can’t control themselves. But at the same time, like any good hunter or vigilante, they have to be deliberate so they don’t get themselves killed, because they are outnumbered and largely outgunned, so they have to be careful. So what we’ve done is taken a look at the Hatred side of things and said OK, what does an obsessed hunter do? Lots of damage, just out of control, burstiness that allows you to do long range burst damage and get out of trouble short range by willing yourself out of that situation with close ranged attacks. On the other side is the preparation and the knowledge that goes into hunting something without that outnumbers you a million to one. That’s the Discipline side of things, these are abilities that are a little more elaborate that you’ll generally use less often, so you really have to plan when you want to use these skills. So we can’t draw out the resource system in specific details but that is the theme you’re going to see.

And finally, in an interview conducted by GameSpot[11]:

So with their resources and their skill trees, we split their skills into the categories of discipline, including traps, preparation, things that take a lot of forethought, and hatred, which is the red-eyes insanity the fuels their high-powered burst attacks, alpha strikes, multishots, flame arrows, and things like that. [The demon hunter] really feels more visceral, and there’s some interesting interplay in the resource system that allows you to switch back and forth between your discipline abilities and your hatred abilities. It’s a little more complex and nuanced than some of the other classes; it’s a class about precision and playing [one skill set] off the other.

...we want the demon hunter to have some highly regenerative, more accessible hatred abilities that he always has up and can use to zip around and keep the pace [of combat] up. But then the discipline side tends to be a more precious resource that you have to manage a lot more carefully. You really pick and choose when you want to use your discipline abilities because they make a big difference in how you escape, how you set up an attack…things like that.

Some abilities use hatred; some use discipline. That’s where we’re at in development. But we want to make sure you’re bouncing back and forth between the two without having to switch a stance or anything cumbersome like that. So you’ll have abilities from both camps accessible at all times, depending on how you build your character. Some demon hunters may focus on hatred, with lots of shooting and moving around, and try to amp up that ability as much as possible, while some may focus on discipline instead. [Either way], the default path is going to be a little of both.

Class-Specific Items[edit | edit source]

Demon Hunter with a Cloak and dual Hand Crossbows.

The Demon Hunter has a few item types that are specific to the class: Quivers, which are off-hand items, Hand Crossbows, and Cloaks. Class-specific items not only add visual flavor to a class, but they also allow the developers to add in specific item modifiers and affixes that are appropriate only to that certain class, to avoid having an inordinate amount of "junk" items spawned for the other classes.

Quivers are equipped in the off-hand slot, but ranged weapons in Diablo III do not require ammunition, unlike in Diablo II where a bow would require arrows and a crossbow would require bolts. They can be equipped with a 2-handed crossbow or bow, and also the demon hunter-specific hand crossbows. In addition to this, quivers are not displayed on the character model visually, even though they are equipped and have an icon. When a Demon Hunter equips a pair of pants, the model reflects the nature of the class being ranged, and quivers are part of the natural "look" of that. Even if a demon hunter is played in a melee style, they will still appear as if they have equipped quivers...unless they go without pants.

Class Background[edit | edit source]

In-game view.

The official bio of the Demon Hunter is of a survivor of demonic attack. The class is made, not born; existing Demon Hunters find survivors in their travels, and those with spirit and skill are inducted into the order and taken to their training grounds in The Borderlands where they are trained in the combat skills they'll need to take vengeance on the monsters that destroyed their families and village.

Demon Hunters use every tool at their disposal to fight monsters, including traps, gadgets, and bits of dark magic. The glowing eyes of the Demon Hunter in the cinematic introduction is meant as a hint of this willingness to experiment and dabble in the dark arts.

Many of the class skills reflect this design, with their combination of several of her core elements including, "tactical," "traps and gadgets," "swift and acrobatic," "ranged," "shadowy and dark."

Official Lore[edit | edit source]

From the Writings of Abd al-Hazir, Journal Entry #35

I have just returned from my travels on the edge of the frozen wasteland known as the Dreadlands, a once-beautiful place forever changed by some great calamity in its history. Now, only ruined cities and bleak landscapes remain, no place for any living thing. I was headed for the village of Bronn for the night, but when I arrived, I found a scene of devastation such as I had never seen before. I should have fled at the first sign of danger, but my curiosity drove me forward. Most of the town's buildings had been burnt to their foundations, and a few charred timbers were the only sign of where they had once stood. Ash choked my lungs. There were bodies strewn everywhere, many dismembered and some even half consumed. The city was abandoned.

Or so I thought.

From the husk of the inn, one of the few buildings still standing, monstrous, gray-skinned creatures burst forth, shouting in some infernal tongue. They were masses of misshapen flesh, of sinewy muscle made for battle. Helpless, I stood frozen as they drew close. The one in the lead seized me by the front of my cloak and lifted me from the ground, its claws tearing through fabric and skin. Its breath was hot on my face, and I was assaulted by the putrid smell of rotten flesh. Its mouth yawned wide, and I saw rows of sharpened teeth, yellowed and stained with blood. I thought only of the shame that my voice would be silenced, never to illuminate another of the wonders of our world for you, my loyal readers.

A sharp sound whistled by my ear, and a crossbow bolt sprouted from the eye of the beast before me, spraying my face with its burning blood. It howled an inhuman cry of pain and threw me to the ground, grabbing at the quarrel. The other creatures scanned for this unseen attacker, and I was forgotten for the moment. From the ground at their feet, I tore my head around to see where the bolt had come from.

"She emerged from the shadows cast by the setting sun and wasted no time in dispatching the rest of my attackers. Her hands worked twin crossbows, launching a glowing arc of flaming bolts over my head, blanketing the hulking monsters."

A Demon Hunter turns a survivor into a new recruit.
That was when I saw a demon hunter for the first time.

The girl could have been no more than twenty. She emerged from the shadows cast by the setting sun and wasted no time in dispatching the rest of my attackers. Her hands worked twin crossbows, launching a glowing arc of flaming bolts over my head, blanketing the hulking monsters. Every shot found its mark in one of the horned beasts, felling the lot of them. From the corner of my eye, I saw more of the savage brutes sneaking up on her from behind. My voice froze in my throat as I tried to scream a warning. I needn't have worried: she was not unaware. The hunter reached into her belt and rolled a trio of strange metal spheres into their path. The monsters looked down just as the contraptions exploded into light and flame, stunning them. It gave her enough time to round on them, her crossbows dispatching them one by one.

With a last look over the town, apparently satisfied that no danger remained for her, she came forward, shaking her head sadly. There was a look of profound disappointment on her face as she returned the crossbows to her sides, hidden by the folds of her cloak.

"No survivors," she said bitterly.

They call themselves the demon hunters, a group of fanatical warriors sworn to a single purpose: the destruction of the creatures of the Burning Hells. The demon hunters number in the hundreds and make their home in the Dreadlands so that they can live and train without the interference of any nation that would worry over having such a fearsome group camped within its borders (though at any time over half are dispatched across the world like this girl, seeking hellspawn). There is something in all demon hunters that gives them the strength to resist the demonic corruption that would drive lesser men to madness. They hone this power, for their resistance to this taint enables them to use the demons' power as a weapon. But their mission and their power are not all that bind them together.

That night, the girl told me of her life, about how, as a child, the demons had descended upon her town. She had watched as demons destroyed her home, setting her village to the torch. They murdered everyone she knew and stole from her everyone she loved. She should have died with them, but she fled, hiding from the hellspawn for days until she was found by a demon hunter who saw the strength in her and took her in as one of their own. Each and every demon hunter, she told me, has a story like this.

They are the survivors, and they are searching for vengeance.

Media[edit | edit source]

You can find every sort of Diablo III screenshot and artwork in the picture gallery.

The Demon Hunter artwork showing her armor/weapon progression from light to heavy.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The Demon Hunter's Fan of Knives is comparable to the Warden's Fan of Knives in Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, or the Fan of Knives Level 66 ability acquired by the Rogue in World of Warcraft.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jay Wilson Interview: BlizzCon 2010 Show Program - IncGamers October 25, 2010
  2. Male Demon Hunter Debuts -, 18, February 2011
  3. @Diablo tweet - Twitter, January 13, 2011
  4. Christian Lichtner @ Blizzcon 2010 - The Escapist November 7, 2010
  5. Jay Wilson Interview @ GamePlanet NZ - GamePlanet New Zealand. October 24, 2010
  6. Bashiok forum post -, October 26, 2010
  7. [Jay Wilson Interview @ Blizzcon 2010 - GamePlanetNZ. October 25, 2010
  8. Artist Interview - GamePlanetNZ. February 18, 2011
  9. Another Interview - February 18, 2011
  10. Male Demon Hunter Debut - DiabloFans. February 18, 2011
  11. Diablo III Preview - Gamespot. February 18, 2011.