Leveling with split arrow/LA to 80 ish is much cheaper and arguably faster.
All you need is a tabula rasa, any cheapo tri ele thicket and some flat ele accesories. elemental damage scales vastly better at lower levels.
Hopefully I had started a new character , a shadow , to level for a split arrow (or LA) crit build. I used all my best items in my stash and bought a Tabula too. But, lets stop here for a moment because Nephalim says it is much cheaper and suggests Tabula + tri elemental thicket bow (obviously we cant go with only one bow till 80 lvl, we will need around 3 bows), etc..
Cheaper is wrong.. Only a Tabula is 3 Ex.. + other items makes at least 4-5 ex..
I think you didnt read the guide well, the cost of items suggested in the guide till 70+ is under 1 EX , at most 2 Ex.. The second part will need 15-20 Ex to reach 90+ lvl.
Now we can continue..
we know that the items suggested by Nephalim is not cheaper..
Is SA/LA faster ?.. Yes, it is.. you can reach level 70 some hours ago than the one who uses this guide if u can manage to pass Bandits , Vaal , Piety and Dominus with simple items.
I had died many times even I had used best items I had. But, I was a noob on range attack skills and it may be different for a pro bow user. I hear that you say this is a guide for newbies having only 1-2 characters more at most. Therefore they will have very similar difficulty I had..
Simply to say leveling as bow user is not so easy and safe.. fun? yes.. but not safe..
This is what I lived.. correct or wrong, it was my reality..
Thats why even though I had aimed to have a bow user, I had changed all my items in the middle and followed this guide by using Double Strike + Spectral Throw until I reached 70 lvl.. Fortunately no more dyeing :)
And only after 70 lvl I was ok to play well with bow..
Atm my shadow is 82 lvl and do quite well as a glass cannon but fun to play :)
P.S. Dear Nephalim, you have 100 lvl char and I am sure u do very well what u play. Honestly if u can make a step by step guide for newbies in detail to prepare them for the end bow builds it will be great.