Hands-On With Diablo III's Demon Hunter: Double Crossbows All The WayS

The Diablo III Demon Hunter class uses double crossbows. What, you wanted more than that? She's pretty hot, and uses double crossbows.

Introduced this weekend at BlizzCon 2010, the Demon Hunter is Diablo III's dark and dangerous ranged class; a counterbalance to the spiritual purity of the Monk Class. When this fifth and final class was revealed, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for a more rogue-like character. After playing through several minutes of Diablo III as the vengeance-seeking warrior?

Now I'm a big fan.

The Demon Hunter demo at BlizzCon immediately dropped me into a dungeon with the task of getting to the outside, with a side-order of defeating an evil zealot.

Immediately I'm set upon by greenish zombies. Immediately I fall in love with those crossbows.

The standard attack is nice and meaty, crossbow bolts plunging into undead flesh with a satisfying thunk, but standard attacks aren't enough in Diablo III. You'll need powers like Entangling Shot, which not only slows your enemies down, but emits dark chains that link multiple enemies together, slowing down whole groups.

The power comes in handy when I stumble across a religious zealot and his cult in the depths of the dungeon.

With at least seven creatures coming at me, one of which is a boss, Entangling Shot is a godsend. Kiting is a huge part of the Demon Hunter's tactics, running backwards and shooting while the slowed enemies stumble after you.

Killing the zealot increases my level from nine to ten, and I get to choose a new skill. My skill list pops out from the left side of the screen, giving me the option to level up my existing powers, or add a new one. Clicking the plus sign to add brings out another pop out, and Multishot is mine.

Multishot sends a fan of bolts into a crowd of monster, and it's the perfect skill to add to my kiting repertoire.

Unfortunately kiting doesn't quite work against the group of lumbering, crystal-studded beast that attack me next. One is a boss, and he teleports.

My Vault movement skill helps somewhat. I leap through the hordes to come out on the other side. I wish I had runes added to the skill. Maybe it would burn the monsters as I passed through them, or leave a nasty trap behind. Instead, I simply wind up on the other side of the creatures. They turn, and kill me.

Later in the day I speak to Diablo III senior designer Jason Bender, who seems surprised the creatures teleported. It was simply bad luck; those wandering creatures are generated randomly. I could have lived.

But I didn't.

The Demon Hunter is one sexy badass of a Diablo III class, but as with any range-focus class, she'll going to take a bit of finesse to master.

I welcome the challenge.