How much Critical Chance is required to make the Sharpshooter Buff useless in comparison to other Passives like Cull of the Weak?

5 Answers 5


Here is how you can think about sharpshooter:

  1. It guarantees a critical hit within 33 seconds (less if you have higher base crit).
  2. It lasts for a short time after your first critical hit (so if you have lots of arrows in the air you can crit for a if they strike near simultaneously). This is why nether tentacles are so great.
  3. The breakpoint between whether or not to use it depends entirely on your crit chance, crit hit damage, and attack speed.

Here's some sample math to break it down (intentionally kept simple so take this with a large grain of salt):

Lets assume you have 20% chance to crit base with 200% crit damage and 2 attacks per second. There is only a single enemy for you to hit.

With 20% chance to crit and 2 attacks per second and no SS, you'll have, on average, 2.5 seconds between critical shots. This means sharpshooter translates roughly into 6-9% critical chance. This roughly translates into 12-18% more damage. This is pretty on par with cull the weak.

If your crit chance goes up, say to 50% (very hard to achieve and you'll either sacrifice a lot of dex/life or gold to buy the godly stuff), then on average you'll be critting every second, so SS only gives an additional 3% crit, meaning its only a 6% damage boost.

So in a sustained fight, you should not use SS in scenario 2 but use SS in scenario 1. However, also keep in mind SS gives you a huge damage spike at the beginning of every fight (guaranteed crit for 200% damage for 1 hit). I'd say for normal monster fighting (almost all the time on inferno) SS is great. For sustained fights such as with bosses, then SS is not as useful and then you'd go with cull the weak.

Finally, keep in mind cull the weak requires a slow of some kind, possibly using up an additional slot or rune where SS works on everything.

I disagree with the premise that SS will become useless as a glass cannon DH, starting out the fight strong is always important. If you can take things out within seconds, there's less chance of something getting close enough to kill you.

  • Pretty sure 2 was hot fixed a while back. Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 15:38
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz I'm still seeing a slight delay after a crit before it resets. The window is big enough to get in multiple crits as long as your shots land at about the same time. Though granted its no longer 1 second
    – l I
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 22:39
  • 1
    "..so if you have lots of arrows in the air you can crit for a.." .. a what?
    – DrFish
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 14:24

As the previous answerer noted, with long stretches between combat, it provides a front ended dps bonus (especially if you open combat with a skill like Impale).

I am going to do my best at analyzing, with some simple "mathcraft", the effect of sharpshooter in combat.

Abbreviations Used:

  • A/s - Attacks per second
  • C% - Critical Hit Chance
  • C/s - Critical hits per second
  • As/C - Average seconds between critical hits
  • CG - Critical gained from sharpshooter without calculating itself

The reason I do not add it calculating itself is that I am trying to show how relatively unaffective it is in combat rather than calculating a breakpoint of it's return. In order to have a breakpoint, I would need to compare it to something else, which gets very situational (too many variables).

IF I had taken it into account, it would reduce the value of CG even more, particularly in the first few scenarios.

None the less, this analysis should show the value of sharpshooter.

One assumption I made in calculating the Critical % gained from sharpshooter is that from 0-.99s you get no +% to crit, and then you gain +3% from 1s-1.99s (rather than it progressively climbing)... I am not sure that this is the case.

It is worth noting that your Attacks per second plays a major roll in the effectiveness of sharpshooter in combat, in addition to Critical Hit Chance.


Scenario 1

  • A/s 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
  • C% 5% 5% 5% 5%
  • C/s 0.07 0.08 0.09 0.1
  • As/C 14.29 12.50 11.11 10.00
  • CG 39 33 30 27

Scenario 2

  • A/s 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
  • C% 10% 10% 10% 10%
  • C/s 0.14 0.16 0.18 0.2
  • As/C 7.14 6.25 5.56 5.00
  • CG 18 15 12 12

Scenario 3

  • A/s 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
  • C% 15% 15% 15% 15%
  • C/s 0.21 0.24 0.27 0.3
  • As/C 4.76 4.17 3.70 3.33
  • CG 9 9 6 6

Scenario 4

  • A/s 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
  • C% 20% 20% 20% 20%
  • C/s 0.28 0.32 0.36 0.4
  • As/C 3.57 3.13 2.78 2.50
  • CG 6 6 3 3

Scenario 5

  • A/s 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
  • C% 25% 25% 25% 25%
  • C/s 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.5
  • As/C 2.86 2.50 2.22 2.00
  • CG 3 3 3 3

Scenario 6

  • A/s 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
  • C% 30% 30% 30% 30%
  • C/s 0.42 0.48 0.54 0.6
  • As/C 2.38 2.08 1.85 1.67
  • CG 3 3 0 0


I did this in excel, got the formatting to look as nice as possible but sorry it still does not look pretty

My conclusion would be:

Assuming non-progressive increase in critical hit chance from sharpshooter, it becomes almost completely useless in combat when your critical hit chance is above 30%, and that its effect is nominal, at best, around 15% critical hit chance.

Its effect before that is moderate, but that is without taking itself into account, so the "CG" values in the first few scenarios are inflated by what I determine to be an immaterial amount.

I just did a quick test with taking itself into account. In what I consider to be the most extreme situation (only 5% critical chance, and 1.4 attacks per second) it would reduce the benefit from +39% to an effective +15% static gain to critical hit chance in combat. Going up to a 1.6 attacks per second it would drop to roughly a static +12% to critical chance. Assuming only base critical damage increase of 50%, that would be roughly a 7.5% or 6% damage increase when the skill first becomes available.

The skill's value is diminished by Increased attack speed and Critical hit chance, but improved by your Critical hit bonus to damage.

So it is still relatively situational.

However, in order to calculate its true value you would need to compare the damage increase from the bonus crit (Which would be tied to your +% dmg on critical hits) and compare vs. the alternative.

  • This answer, as with the other one, does assume a 'continuous fire' scenario. At high levels, Demon Hunters don't play like this, and you'll often have some gaps between shots during which you're focused on mobility instead, which provides a corresponding increase in Sharpshooter value. Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 15:06
  • In order for me to be able to more accurately calculate the bonus damage, can someone clarify how the 3% bonus works. Is it A) If you don't crit for 1s you get +3% crit from 1-2s, then +6% from 2-3s, etc... Or B) it scales up progressively (for example, roughly .1% crital hit chance added every .0333s)... This matters because in A) you gain 0% in second 1, 3% in second 2, etc... vs B) average of 1.5% +crit in second 1, 4.5% in second 2. Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 15:36

Sharpshooter is only really effective if you have improv long breaks between monsters. It gives a front-end damage spike, but cannot be sustained. If you find yourself with long breaks between fights, then go with Sharpshooter.

  • The gaps between shots don't need to be terribly long to get a lot of mileage out of sharpshooter, even if you aren't waiting for 100% Crit chance to fire. Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 14:18

Sharpshooter increases your critical hit chance every second for 3%. After about 30 seconds it is fully charged (depending or your base critical hit chance).

Obviously the first hit will cause a critical hit all the time. Afterwards it depends on how you play.

You benefit the most with:

  • A slow weapon: As your DPS remains the same weather you shoot 3 times or once a second. But if you shoot once a second you automatically get 3% critical hit chance.
  • Stutter step: Shoot once, run away, shoot again. This way you maximize your damage while keeping a safe distance. But if you say run away 1 second you gain 3% more critical hit chance. This is way better than shooting 3-5 times in a row.
  • Huge pauses in between fights. E.g. kill 10 monsters and burn through all your hatred and discipline, wait for it to recover then kill another 10 monsters.

Ok now this is pseudo Math, as it is purely based on average values and does not use real permuatations. You can use it as a lower bound for constant DPS comparison.

Assuming the following scenario:

  • DPS w/o SS (dps1): 27k
  • crit% w/o SS (c1): 0.18
  • DPS w/ SS (dps2): 64k
  • crit% w/ SS (c2): 1
  • Attacks per second (a): 1.32
  • DPS w/o crit% (dps3): (dps1 - c1 * dps2) / (1 - c1) in this case (27k - 0.18*64k) / 0.82 = 18,9k
  • average crit after x hits: 1/c1 in this case: 5,6
  • average crit after x seconds: 1/(c1 * a) in this case 4,2

This tells you that you have about 4 seconds (12% crit%) in which you benefit from SS on average. After these 4 seconds you will get a crit from your base crit% on average.

So basically this means you get less then about 0.12 * (dps2 - dps3) = 5,4k more damage if you shoot all the time. This value increases if you run away between shooting.

So if you want constant DPS and have a better alternative than these 5,4k go for it. Otherwise it is really hard to calculate and compare two alternatives.


crit chance build is expensive demon hunter needs at least 500 resistance 50k life and 410k demage with sharp shooter to do monster power level 6 with ease. if you have crit chance 40 and above it is useless to use ss.if cc is between 30-35 ss is still good.you can not get all specs vit, cc, crit demage, dex, all resistance, or attack speed coz it is extremely expensive a good glove starts from 200m,or ammy 300 m.... you have to spend 1.5 billion at least to be godly.so crit chance build sucks and sharp shooter is always good.you can make 500k dps but you will keep dying ,repair cost?no point. dh needs resistance and vitality period.i have tried all builds

  • 2
    Consider adding paragraphs and fixing grammar.
    – DrFish
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 14:26

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