The Marauders 6 set bonus make Demon Hunters one of the top classes in the game at the moment for handling end game content. With a decent 2-handed crossbow, the Bombadier’s Rucksack and Custom Engineering, even a poorly itemized Demon Hunter can solo and carry T4-5 rifts. Drop 5 sentries down and let them take care of the work while you avoid all the blows. Sound simple? It’s more than that.
I won’t argue that the Marauders 6 set bonus are what make Demon Hunters such a top notch class to play. Even the 4 set bonus is huge in providing the Demon Hunter all pets as well as allowing them to activate each pet ability. Add to the fact that the Demon Hunter’s Vault makes them immune to damage while tumbling away from a rough encounter and their range attack, you’d think that there really isn’t a better class to play.
Demon Hunters had a place back during Diablo 3’s initial launch and were one of the few classes that could handle Inferno. Back then the monster’s damage output would render melee impotent. So a Demon Hunter just coming out of Hell would stand a better shot at killing elites to gain that all important end game gear to push forward.
But this wasn’t always the case. Once several nerfs to Inferno took place, Monster Power and Paragon levels were implemented and the Auction House (especially the Real Money one) started to thrive, Demon Hunters slowly lost their footing to other classes that were able to be more effective at farming, particularly the Whirlwind Barbarian and carpal tunnel Wizard…I mean the Critical Mass Wizard. Critical Mass Wizards were known to be able to handle Monster Power 6 with budget builds of around 2 million gold while Barbarians, once certain gear was obtained, ended up becoming the ultimate efficiency farmer. In fact, the Whirlwind Barbarian was so OP back in the day, they pretty much reigned as the only class to play right up until the patch just before Reaper of Souls came out.
Unfortunately, for every other class outside of the flavor-of-the-month Tempest Rush monk build, few could even come near that speed play of a Whirldwind Barbarian. Blizzard made it a point to nerf Wrath of the Barbarian to prevent the indestructible machine and completely did away with Critical Mass because it essentially made certain mechanics for things like Uber Bosses to become nullified.
During that time there was a brief moment when Witch Doctors had the spotlight in terms of being the top brawlers. Barbarians couldn’t touch them but in the end brawling never hit its stride and only serves as a temporary distraction. Yet Witch Doctors still have a spot as one of the few classes to be able to hit Torment 6 without being super geared.
Let’s fast forward to the present moment with regards to Demon Hunters. I need to emphasize that the OP status that Demon Hunters receive only occur because of the 6 set bonus for their Marauders armor. While getting this set is far easier at this point, it still requires time and effort as well as tons of grinding just to get enough gear to do basic torments and not get kicked off a team for having low DPS because you have issues generating enough hatred fast enough as a result of a nerf to Preparation. So it’s only really high end Demon Hunters that might seem OP, but that still requires an immense amount of time devoted to finding the perfect gear. You do hit a point of efficiency faster once you receive your full set bonus, but there are other factors that will force you to grind slowly to that high end OP status.
The real issue isn’t that Demon Hunters are OP but that certain other classes have a few flaws as a result of poor set bonuses that are expected at the end game. That particular class is the barbarian. I have little sympathy for those who are completely dedicated to playing this class and want to do well at the highest level because they pretty much reigned supreme for a few good years until this current patch. I’ve played the Whirlwind Barbarian back in the hey day and tasted from the nectar of OP goodness while farming for items. Certainly though, they do need some correction to perform better.
Overall, I think Demon Hunters are in a very good state. They can survive, carry and do decent DPS despite several other flaws. The key really is to bring other underperforming classes up either through revamping talents or providing better end game gear next season. I vote for the latter since I can’t see any easy solution using the current setup.