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I'm currently a level 56 Demon Hunter with a crossbow and quiver. The best quivers I've seen give significant damage boosts, although with my bow it's not necessary (able to kill normal mobs relatively quickly on Hell difficulty). I've read that using a shield as your off-hand, typically something high in dexterity/vitality, is beneficial since Demon Hunters aren't the strongest class. While solo-ing I get low on health frequently (although I regain it pretty quickly due to near-constant crits and lifesteal), but in group play I'm almost always out of the line of fire.

Long story short, why (and when) should a demon hunter use a shield?

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There's nothing wrong with open-ended questions so long as you provide enough framework for someone to provide an answer. I think you've done that, so there's nothing wrong with this question. In fact, I think it's a good question, so +1. –  Wipqozn May 21 '12 at 14:31
    
Hey I have lvl 60 dh and a shield but I all my equipment packs high resistance to all/high dex over 70 on all/ vitality on all/ and other adds such as attack speed / add to armor ect. . . My weapon is a 1h xbow that does 765 plus adds 30 percent bleed for 1000 to 1200 I walk threw hell like its nuthing and I can eat more damage then most and kill faster than non dh im all for the shield –  user31531 Aug 31 '12 at 16:13

5 Answers 5

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Well, I think the main issue is that a shield on your off-hand restricts the weapon you use on your main hand to a hand crossbow, as opposed a quiver on your off-hand which lets you use two handed bows as your main weapon.

But other than that, i can think of no reason why using a shield would be inherently bad, other than the fact that you need a good hand-crossbow to go with it. In fact, a shield with a good dexterity stat can increase your DPS as much as a quiver, while also increasing your defense and survivability much more than a quiver could.

I think it comes down to what specific items you have and what balance of DPS and survivability you want. Turn on advanced tooltips, and play around with equipping different weapon combos, and see how your damage/armor rating changes. Sometimes using a shield will be better, and sometimes it won't.

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Using a shield could maximize your survivability, but most of the time the Demon Hunters role is to deal copious amounts of damage. The only time I could see a Demon Hunter using a shield effectivly would be if all/most of your skills were trap related requiring you to get into the mobs to lay traps. Other than that, like you stated in group play you are usually gaurded and in PvP the same should apply.

As usual though it all comes down to playstyle. Suvivabilty VS DPS.

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Demon hunters are very squishy, and shields provide a nice way of damage reduction. By using a shield with high dexterity, you're minimizing the amount of damage output you lose while benefiting from the increased survivability.

Having a shield is more important for solo demon hunters than those that play in a group with a tank. Demon hunters in groups should focus on damage and the tank should be taking the damage and aggro away from the demon hunter, so survivability should be less important.

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as far as i can see from inferno difficulty that i am atm, IF any mob gets agro on you, you are dead in 1 hit. normal hits from mobs on inferno are like 40k minimum to a dps like DH, wizard, WD and barb in DPS spec. a shield might protect you for 1-2 hits due to block chance, but as you play DH u know that if a mob is on you and u are out of dicipline you are prolly dead except if the mob is low on life, even if you got a shield or not(i tried it). so my opinion is that if you try to maximize your survivability as DH, not only by getting a shield but getting most of your items with a high value of Vitality and not dexterity, you lose a huge amount of damage, that you need, and your playing a class that is ment to be a "glass cannon". so my opionion is that if you got a 2H bow and a good quiver or 2 1H hand crossbows is better than having a shield as an off-hand. the only case that i would play with a 1H CB and a shield is the case that the combination of the shield+1H CB would give more dmg than the combination of 2 1Hs CBs or 2H bow/CB+ quiver or 1H CB + quiver.

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I happen to dislike this answer because I do not think that the Demon Hunter has to exclusively be a Glass Cannon. If the option is between 40k dps and dying to 1 hit and 30k dps and being able to absorb 4-5 hits, the second option will have much more "up time" while fighting. Assuming you had roughly 1,000 armor and 100 all resists, simply equipping a shield with 1,200 armor and 60 resist all (not hard to acquire) would cut the damage you take by over 30%... Try out all resist gear. You give up 15% attack speed vs dual wielding to get much more survival. –  DiabloMonkey Jun 28 '12 at 18:53

A shield would also be good against a boss. Taking damage from Belial is completely unavoidable no matter how many teammates you have, and it would be wise to swap out that quiver for a shield to keep from getting killed in just one or two hits. Rakanoth solo is the same way. He will blink right to you and deal huge damage no matter how many times you spam smoke screen with preparation.

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Taking damage from Belial is completely unavoidable actually isn't true, I've killed him without getting hit by anything. However this is definitely applicable for The Butcher, where a quiver vs a shield can decide your fate with escaping fire traps and his multi-spear attack. These are definitely avoidable, however without an added defensive bonus odds are you'll get one-shot. –  Chris May 30 '12 at 13:32
    
No boss damage is "unavoidable" - there are achievements in the game specifically for killing bosses without taking any damage. –  kalina Jun 27 '12 at 17:11

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