Guide: Red Line Hunter

This was first published on Oct. 18th, 2014.

The red line is the conservative Hunter. It’s what most people think of when they think of a Hunter. It’s described as a stationary, long ranged Hunter dealing great damage. The red line Hunter is a master at taking things down quickly. Overall, the red line can put out the most damage in the least amount of time. I wasn’t intending to do a red line Hunter guide at first because I don’t play red line all that often, but my OCD kicked in and I needed to complete my set. So here we are. As usual, we’ll start with traits, then set bonuses, and finally our closer look.

Traits
Heart Seeker – This is your most damaging shot. It does the most damage, but if that isn’t enough to make you love this skill, then get this. It can’t be parried, blocked, or evaded. This skill is one of the deadliest in your arsenal, and you should definitely get it and use it every chance you can get.

True Shot – This decreases your targets mitigation against Penetrating Shot by up to 10%. As a line that focuses on doing damage quickly, this can be useful, but it’s not something that you need to worry about right away. Early on, you should be focusing on the traits that will increase your overall damage, not just one skill.

Critical Eye – This increases critical chance by 5%. It may not seem like a lot, but it all adds up. I recommend maxing this one.

Deadly Precision – This is unlocked after Critical Eye is maxed. What it does is grant you 1 focus point every time you score a critical. There’s another reason to max out Critical Eye.

Press Onward – This gives you a massive morale heal, and a moderate power heal. It can only be used in-combat, but honestly, when else do you need to heal? It’s also the second skill you gain from traits. It’s worth the trait point.

Perseverance – This increases the healing of Press Onward by up to 15%. This could save your life in battle, and that sounds pretty good to me.

Swift and True – Every rank you put into this skill (5 ranks total) increases the damage of Swift Bow by up to 30%. Upon maxed, Quick Shot has a 20% chance of removing Swift Bow’s induction. I’d rank this as very, very important.

Fast Draw – Quick Shot will grant a buff (stacks three times) that reduces bow inductions by up to 10%. Should you get this? Yes. Part of what red line does is reduce inductions so that it can pump out damage faster. Anything that reduces inductions is your best friend.

Quick Escape – Low Cut applies a 3 second root and temporarily lets you move around without losing focus. This should only be used to reposition yourself if your enemy manages to get within melee range. Don’t try to tank it, you’re an archer. Use low cut, and put as much distance between you and the monster as quickly as possible. Find the Path should always be on for this reason.

Strength – This increases the ranged damage bonus of Strength Stance by up to 10%. Like I said earlier, anything that boosts overall damage is great.

Draw Weight – This increases the damage of any bow skill with an induction by up to 15%. The last rank adds on a 15% critical multiplier for all skills that require bow inductions. Five out of your nine ranged attacks have inductions. That’s Quick Shot, Barbed Arrow, Bard’s Arrow, Swift Bow and Heart Seeker if anyone was wondering.

Rain of Arrows – This is your third skill gained from trait points. It is a ranged skill (40 meters) that hits a maximum of 5 targets in a 10 meter radius. It costs 3 focus points and doesn’t do all that much damage, but its true strength lies in critical hits. When maxed, this skill has a 2% extra chance of scoring a critical hit and it gets a critical multiplier of 10%. That’s a lot of damage if you can get it to critically hit.

Hail of Arrows – When Rain of Arrows critically hits, this trait will remove the cooldown of Rain of Arrows completely when maxed.

Mercy Kill – This increases Merciful Shot’s critical multiplier by up to 30%. I shudder to think of how much damage that would do.

Burn Hot – This is one of my favorite Hunter skills. It costs 750 power, which is a massive amount, but when maxed it increases ranged damage by 41% and reduces your ranged skill power cost by 60% for a whole 20 seconds! I like to think of this skill as a mini-ult. Yes, it’s that powerful. If you really want to see someone’s health bar melt, hit Focus, then trigger Burn Hot and follow through with Heart Seeker and Upshot. The results will send shivers of delight down your spine and make you point and laugh at every other DPS class out other; including other Hunters.

Bodkin Arrows – When maxed this will increase your ranged skills mitigation bypass by 10%. For anyone keeping track of mitigation bypass, if you max out True Shot as well, Penetrating Shot should bypass 20% of your targets mitigation.

In for the Kill – Heart Seeker applies a moderate bleed and reduces incoming healing by 50% for 8 seconds.

Plant Feet – After standing still for 1.5 seconds, you will get a 5% evade buff as long as you don’t move. That’s right, you dodge things by not trying to get out of the way. Gotta love the irony.

Upshot – This is your ult. It will consume every focus point that you have, but it will do extra damage per focus point. See bottom of this post to see the math. Don’t expect me to do math ever again. You have no idea how long it took for me to figure that out. Seriously. It’s not happening again, so don’t even ask.

Set Bonuses
Needful Haste Increase – This increases the application chance of Needful Haste from 10% to 15%. Needful Haste has a chance of triggering when you attack. It decreases your inductions by 25% and decreases Swift Bow’s induction by 0.5 seconds.

Shoot to Kill – This increases ranged damage by 10%.

Archer’s Mark – Every attack has a chance to add a stacking critical debuff to your opponent.

Hemorrhaging Shot – Increases critical damage by 10%.

Swift Mercy – This does two things, both of which improve Merciful Shot. First of all, you can now use it when your target’s health is lower than 70%. Secondly, Swift Bow now lowers the focus cost of Merciful Shot by 1 point each time it’s used. Now that’s handy.

Hidden Stalker – This gives you a whopping +8 stealth level when you use Camouflage. It also increases your ranged critical chance by 50% while you’re camouflaged.

Marksman – When you land a critical hit the cooldown of Heart Seeker and Upshot is reduced by 2 seconds. When you land a devastating hit the cooldown is reduced by 4 seconds. Yowza.

Closer Look
Writing this guide makes me want to play red line more often. It really does. Earlier I stated that the red line is the opposite of the blue line because one relied on movement speed and the ability to outrun opponents, while the other stressed staying still to land those big hits. I would like to revise that statement. While the blue line relies on movement speed to win its battles, the red line relies on attack speed. A red line Hunter, to properly take down an enemy, must first stand 40 meters away and then fire off skills very quickly. The key to a successful red line is to ensure that you minimize your bow inductions to maximize your damage output. Try splashing a bit of blue line to get the induction decrease. It is also necessary to ensure that your attacks actually do a lot of damage, because as soon as your enemy gets within melee range, you’re going to be a lot less useful! Landing critical hits are a good way to throw in some extra damage, but I suggest a build that focuses on a steady stream of damage rather than criticals. Although, that might just be me being overly cautious.

A big mistake most red line Hunters make is to get too close to their target before attacking. As a red line, you need to remember that you do the most damage when your enemy is very far away. You have 40 meters of bow range for a reason! Be sure to use it all. When you start attacking, you should be standing 40 meters away from your target. If you run Strength Stance (which I very strongly recommend for a red line Hunter) use Quick Shot to slow your opponent down first, then unleash the fury. In the rare case that your enemy does make it to you, use Low Cut to root them so you can put more distance between you and your enemy. Yes, you have some melee skills, but you’re an archer.

Overview
– Be sure to stand 40 meters away from your enemies.
– Focus on increasing ranged damage, reducing cooldowns, and reducing inductions.
– If someone gets close to you, use Low Cut to root them and move to a safer position. It’s not running away, it’s good strategy.
– Don’t forget how good you are at camouflaging. Try to use that to your advantage.

Upshot Math
dmg total = 11.564 x bow range + focus bonus

focus bonus:
1 = 16% dmg bonus
2 = 28% dmg bonus
3 = 28% dmg bonus + random variable (max bonus = 37%)
4 = 36% dmg bonus + random variable (max bonus = 44%)
5 = 43% dmg bonus + random variable (max bonus = 50%)
6 = 48% dmg bonus + random variable (max bonus = 54%)
7 = 52% dmg bonus + random variable (max bonus = 58%)
8 = 56% dmg bonus + random variable (max bonus = 61%)
9 = 57% dmg bonus + random variable (max bonus = 66%)

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