This was first published on Sep. 20th, 2014.
If the red line hunter is the traditional play style, the blue line is the not traditional one. In fact, the blue line is the exact opposite of the red line. We’ll start with going through the traits and set bonuses and then move on to the best way to play this class.
Impact Arrows – This trait increases ranged damage up to 5%. This could be very useful, but is by no means essential for a full blue line build.
Quick Draw – A trait that reduces bow inductions by up to 20%? Getting this trait maxed should be one of your first priorities. The Blue Line Hunter is all about speed and this will give you a very nice edge.
Strong Draw – This trait boosts damage by 20%, but it should be noted that this damage boost only applies to skills that consume focus. All in all, I didn’t put that many points into this one, but if you want to really melt things down, go ahead.
Quick Shot Focus – This trait increases the chance (up to 20%) that Quick Shot will grant you an extra focus point. At first, I wasn’t impressed with this skill, but once I tried it out that extra focus point came in handy. I wouldn’t rely on it in a tight spot, but it is useful.
Split Shot – This one grants you a new skill! This is your first AoE skill and a very handy one. As someone who kites all the time, you’re going to draw in extra enemies now and then and this skill will prove invaluable.
Barbed Fury – This one increases the bleed damage you do by up to 20%. If you want to use the Exsanguinate skill later on, I would invest in this.
Pathfinder – This increases the speed buff that Find the Path gives you by 10%. It seems like a humble trait. It’s not very flashy. Invest in it anyways. Trust me.
Precision – This increases the amount of focus that the Precision stance gives you. If you like the stance I would go for it because that extra focus would be very handy in a tight spot, but I like running the Endurance stance, so I didn’t put any points into this one.
Blood Arrow – This grants you a skill that does a fair amount of damage, but eats up a bit of health instead of a bit of power. It will grant you back 6% of your health on a critical hit, and I find that by running Endurance stance any lost health can be regained fairly quickly.
Exsanguinate – This skill ties into Blood Arrow. If maxed out, when you use Blood Arrow 60% of the time you will unlock this skill. It costs one focus point, but applies a heavy bleed to the target. I love this skill.
Improved Intent Concentration – I would rate this as the most useless trait in the blue line, but I don’t use the skill Concentration that much. If you absolutely love using it, then I’m sure that this trait will make you very happy. It reduces the cooldown by a whopping 30 seconds and adds a power boost.
Strength of the Earth – If you find yourself burning through power (of course you do, you rolled a hunter), then invest in this skill! Extra power is always welcome. This unlocks a skill that regenerates power through a 5 second induction.
Shot Through the Heart – If picked, this trait will ensure that Merciful Shot and Heart Seeker cash in bleeds for extra damage. I don’t use those skills very often, but if you do, hey, extra damage is always nice.
Volley – Any skill that consumes focus has a chance of removing the bow induction of your next skill. This is a very useful trait. I would highly recommend it.
Bow of the Righteous – Apart from having a really cool name, this will pretty much halve the amount of power your ranged skills cost you.
On the Move – This will increase your evade rating when you are moving. Slot a point into it. It’s very, very useful.
Rapid Fire – This is your ultimate. What it does is remove the focus cost from all of your bow skills for 10 seconds. At first I thought, “What??? Red Lines get Upshot and I get this? What is this crap?” Then I tried it out. Try this if you have any doubts as to the power of this ultimate. Pick any random enemy and hit Rapid Fire. Then use all of the skills that consume focus in rapid succession. Don’t stop, just keep firing. Your enemy will keel over before the 10 seconds are out. This is a deceptively powerful skill. There’s a reason it’s your ultimate! Don’t be deceived by its humble appearance, with this ult, you will kick ass.
Nock on the Move – This erases the induction penalty for moving. To play the Blue Line properly, you must have this unlocked.
Fleetness – Every time you deal damage, there is a 10% chance that your movement speed will be increased by 10%. This will turn you from a harassing hunter into a whirling dervish. It’s very handy.
Barbed Hindrance – This will increase Barbed Arrow’s damage and slow by 30%. You need this slow, if you can’t get it then run Strength stance. Part of what makes this trait line work is the ability to slow down your enemy.
Swift Release – This reduces the inductions of Barbed Arrow and Split Shot by 25%. I like this skill a lot.
Earthborn – Do you remember the skill Strength of the Earth? If you get this set bonus, that skill will restore health and focus as well as power.
Improved Fleetness – The set bonus Fleetness will now give you focus and a movement speed buff as well.
Intensified Fire – This ties into your ultimate Rapid Fire. When Rapid Fire is active, every attack you make puts a stacking physical mastery buff. That’s right, this makes you pump out more damage in that lovely 10 second window.
So we’ve looked at the traits and the set bonuses. It looks like a boring, regular line that can’t possibly compare to the red line until you take into account one thing. It’s that first set bonus. No penalty for shooting things while moving. But more importantly, if you picked Blue Line as your primary line, you will get this. This is one thing that makes this line so deadly. No focus loss and miss chance penalty when moving. Those words are very, very important. Strafing is going to become your new best friend. Not many people use that lonely little strafe movement command. And for good reason! Why go sideways when you can go forwards? This line relies on strafing. Strafing can be used to circle around your target and fire at them. That’s right, you’re going to kite things. From now on, you will kite everything. Bears. Wolves. Walking trees. If it wants to kill you, kite it. Strafing can be a bit tricky and at first it will be much easier to just go backwards. Try not to do this. Strafing lets you move faster, and this line relies on the ability to stay (quite literally) a few steps ahead of your opponents. This build relies on the ability to outrun enemies, you need to be able to move faster than they can!
Quick Shot is normally your bread and butter skill as a hunter. Barbed Arrow is your new bread and butter if you took the set bonus Barbed Hindrance. If you didn’t take this, run in Strength stance and slow things with Quick Shot. When going into battle, your first priority should be disabling your opponent. Reduce their movement speed! You want them crawling towards you while you zip around them with all those fancy movement speed buffs you’re getting. Find the Path should always be active and if you get any possible chance to increase your movement speed you should take it! Circle around your enemies (strafing of course), slow them down and then fire your skills off. The important thing is to never stop moving. Go from side to side, strafe, go backwards, run in little zigzag patterns. There’s a reason that the Blue Line is described as a mid-ranged harassing hunter. That’s what it is! So go harass things! Try taking your Blue Line out in the moors and run circles around any monster players you come across! Kite everything you fight! Increase your movement speed! If you do this, your blue line hunter will be very, very hard to kill. It will take practise, and you will feel awkward at first, but trust me. The Blue Line hunter is so much fun. I absolutely love this line because I get to move around all the time and it makes combat that much more engaging. If you want to kite like you’ve never done before, try splashing a bit of Yellow Line. Speaking of which, next week we’ll have our next guide for the Yellow Line Hunter. Hope that you understand this class much better now! Bye! And as always, enjoy!
– Kite your enemies (be sure to shoot them while you kite).
– Increase your movement speed by all means possible.
– Decrease your enemies movement speed by all means possible.
– Don’t stop moving. Seasoned Blue Line Hunters should be able to kill five baddies in a row without once stopping.