Obviously you've come to this forum to discuss builds of your favorite class (or should be your favorite class). With the onset of OB, you're wondering what sort of builds will be feasible, hardcore or softcore (default). To that end, there are several things you need to keep in mind before jumping into the build specifics.
As your first character in a brand new league/realm, you will have nothing at your dispoal, nothing in your stash, to help you build those powerful builds you had in closed beta. Gone, nada, zero. As such, your builds should keep in mind several things:
1. Be as Gear Independent as possible
- Do not rely on skill gems (e.g. Elemental Hit) or support gems (Greater Multiple Projectiles [GMP], Chain) that can only be found by looting or trading with others.
- Do not rely 5Link/6Link (5L/6L) equipment to make your build survivable. Work with 3Ls and 4Ls with the hopes of eventually getting a 5L/6L. Your main skills must be able to work with 4Ls at the very least to be viable. When you hit Merciless, you should be working with 3/4L equipment.
- Do not rely on trading with people for things you need; this is a brand new economy and everything will be hyperinflated. If you need specific support/skillgems, consider rolling another toon that will receive that skill/support gem. ***This applies to the new 4month leagues, Anarchy and Onslaught.***
- Do not rely on obtaining uber weapons/armor. Chances are, you might be using magic (blue) items even in Merciless difficulty.
2. Defense over Offense
- Try to maintain a greater ratio of defense to offense. You want your first build to marginally succeed, even if it runs across trouble in the endgame map content. Do not spec all into offense or throw a passive point or two into defense. This will get you killed fast,
- The three defense aspects you have to consider are: 1) primary defense (life or ES) 2) secondary defense type (armor, evasion, acrobatics), 3) resistances
- Generally speaking, having 2k+ life, 40%+ armor or evasion, and 20+ resistances will be enough when starting Merciless difficulty, but these are the bare minimum figures and should strive for more beyond that. By the time you hit endgame at lvl 66+, you'll want 3k+ life, 50%+ armor/evasion, and 50+ resistances.
- Watch out for mobs dealing Chaos damage, shock stacking/freeze, and critical damage.
3. Build smartly
- Don't just make a build all willy-nilly with the online passive skill tree and post it for feedback, have a plan! What do you want to accomplish with this character with the available skill/support gems?
- What skills will you be using? What skills will you be focusing on as your main mode of attack? Think about the synergy of skills with support gems and support/utility skills.
- What type of damage are you dealing? Physical, Elemental, single element, crit, or a mix? Successful builds in this game usually require a combination of 2 types of damage.
- What defense type will you go for? Armor through Iron Reflexes, or evasion + Acrobatics/PhaseAcrobatics + Arrow Dodging?
- How will you fuel your attacks? Mana (e.g. Mana Flows, leech, regen) or Blood Magic (keystone/support, HP, HP regen)?
- Plan a build using 105 points, then break that down in stages (1-20, 21-40, 41-70, 71-85, 85-105). This will help you to envision the type of build you are aiming for, and what nodes, notables, and keystones you will take first over others. An 85-point build will give a solid picture of a build that can tackle endgame content once you've finished Act 3 of merciless (level-wise low to high 60s).
- You should be using points 1-70 to reach all the necessary areas/keystones before filling in the gaps. You don't want to be wasting a lot of skill points on measly +10 stat attributes to reach a cluster of passives at high levels. Starting from lvl 85 and up, each point will matter a whole lot more as your experience gain slows down exponentially.
- Try to make your build utilizing some of the most powerful notables at the Ranger's disposal.
4. Watch your Flask selection
- Certain flasks (resists, diamond, granite) are drop only, and cannot be purchased from the NPC vendor.
- Diamond flasks are now being reinstated into the game in a nerfed manner. Crit builds can now utilize this flask as a way to increase your chance of criticaling. Not really worth using imo due to the fact it consumes 80 charges out of 80 for ONE use. I'd bring one for emergency use... but I don't think it's necessary.
- Granite flasks have been nerfed (again). The current nerf makes it so it grants +3000 additional armor instead of 4000.
- Quicksilver flasks will replace the overrused Phase Run. This flask is great for farming and panic escape. Think about whether or not you want this flask to use up one of your slots on your flask belt. As such, you may want to spend a passive point on movement speed such as the Armor Mastery notable or the Celerity notable. And be on the lookout for boots with movement speed mods. Phase Run may or may not come back; we shall see.
After all that, you might be wondering how to go about an actual build. Located throughout this forum, there have been dedicated members advising people on how to properly construct builds, myself included.
Please take a look, and don't be lazy. Chances are your questions have already been answered by someone else. I will also be willing to look over your proposed builds if you're uncertain. All veteran members are welcome to chip in as well. When posting builds, please use the url and spoiler tags to make it easier for the people you are seeking help from.
I hope this cleared up a lot confusion and doubts, and happy gaming.
Links to Major (IMPORTANT) posts made by me in this thread:
Here's the post that refers to many types of starter Bow builds (also located further down the first page):
What mods to look for on gear:
How to plan for Skills and Supports:
My own Physical/Critical Dodge/Evade build: