Wednesday
Sep052012

1.05 Nerfs CC in Diablo 3, Infinite Stun Builds on Watch

 

1.05 is bringing a change to CC effects in Diablo 3, including the Frost Nova AOE stuns that are so useful with the Windup Wizard build. 

While infinite CC rotations can feel make players feel awesome, it's fleeting. If CC becomes too powerful, it can trivialize most major mechanics and the game can become boring.

The new rules are fairly complicated, and it seems the change to gameplay style will be a sort of woozy back and forth of usefulness of freezes as combat ebbs and flow, with your best chance to stun right when you aggro a mob and decreasing as you pound that monster but then gradually reseting in chance back to usefulness if the mob flees.

How It Works:

Monsters have a "CC resistance" that is stored on a per-monster basis.

The CC resistance starts at 0%.  For every 1 second CC that is applied to the monster, the monster receives 10% CC resistance.

Monsters lose 10% of their CC resistance every second that they are not CC’d.

Elite monster CC resistance is capped at the current reduction values already active for Elites.  In other words, CC resistance on most Elite monsters is capped to:

35% in Normal

50% in Nightmare

65% in Hell

65% in Inferno

Blizzard will keep their eye on windup even beyond 1.0.5:

As previous mentioned, this means that near-infinite CC strategies will still work.  We're okay with these strategies remaining viable, as we love how powerful it makes players feel. (That said, we will continue to keep an eye on these strategies and may make some changes in the future if we feel it will be better for the health of the game.)

Developer Journal: Crowd Control Changes

Wednesday
Aug152012

Energy Twister Nerfed in 1.0.4

Blizzard is slashing the proc rate of Energy Twister in half from 0.25 to 0.125 in Patch 1.0.4. New legendaries will rely on procs from skills like Wicked Wind to give very strong effects. Since Energy Twister has such a high rate of procs over time, it is one of the few skills being nerfed in 1.0.4. The Windup build will still work but will require a higher crit rate. Those with  high crit rates "may not even notice much difference," according to the annoucement:

While patch 1.0.4 has very few nerfs, one of them does affect the wizard. Rather than waiting for players to discover this change in the patch notes or while playing, I wanted to call it out here because it affects a build that I find to be quite cool and enjoy a lot. 

Energy Twister is having its proc coefficient reduced from 0.25 to 0.125.  For players who may not know what proc coefficients are: they affect how effectively a skill triggers procs (or effects that have a small chance to activate).  Many skills (like Magic Missile) have a proc coefficient of 1. Skills that hit multiple targets or pulse multiple times have lower proc coefficients. 

In the case of Energy Twister, specifically Wicked Wind, the 0.25 proc coefficient causes the skill to generate more procs in a given time period than any other skill.  Currently, this is used in combination with Critical Mass to lower the cooldown on skills like Frost Nova and Diamond Skin.  By reducing the proc coefficient from 0.25 to 0.125, the build still works and remains fairly strong, but it won’t be quite as good as it is now.  (For those with extremely high Crit rates, you may not even notice much difference, but I wanted to call it out anyway. )

Originally, we weren’t going to make this change, but 1.0.4 also brings with it a number of new Legendary items, and many of them have phenomenal new proc effects.  If we left high proc coefficients as they were, then a handful of skills with higher coefficients would become the de facto choice to use with these sexy new items.  We were faced with a choice: we could either reduce the proc coefficient, or we could make it so these skills could not trigger the procs on Legendary items at all.  We opted for the former because it seemed like getting a Legendary with a proc effect but never seeing it trigger would be very disappointing.  Regardless, having well-balanced proc coefficients on all skills is not only better for Legendaries, but also for the game in the long term.

RIP Windup Wizard.

Although it may seem a huge nerf at first, it might not matter much given sufficient crit rate and the right legendaries considering the amazing new proc effects.

Tuesday
Jul102012

High DPS Windup: Inferno Belial in 90s with Critical Mass Melee Wizard

 

Here's a high-dps variation of the Critical Mass / Energy Twister / Explosive Blast Windup Wizard build. It takes a total of 90s from loading into the Imperial Palace title at 0:43 to the kill flash at 2:13. And yes, there is a death during that minute and a half!

This is a comparable time to this video of Athene's Demon Hunter which is the fastest I found on YouTube. His time is 5s longer at 95s using the Imperial Palace/kill flash at 0:06 and 1:41 as boundaries.

Build

Defensive skills are out, so no Energy Armor or Teleport. They're replaced with two DPS buffs, Force Weapon and Dartling Familiar. Mirror Skin is used rather than the more defensive Crystal Shell to reflect damage back. For passives, Critical Mass is joined by Cold Blood and Glass Cannon. Buffed DPS is 68k.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#VSYXhj!gWY!YZcbcZ

Gear

Monday
Jul022012

Act 4 Inferno Elites & Diablo with Critical Mass Battlemage Wizard Energy Twister Windup Build

Unstable Anomaly

"It takes perfect concentration for a wizard to dance on the edge of infinity. Never be the one to break that concentration." —One-Eye Whipple

The Windup build encourages aggressive play on the precipice of huge kills versus complete failure while surrounded by big packs of enemies in order to keep the combo going.

In testing build variations for Inferno Act 4 death always occured when overwhelmed without time to respond, either due to the Teleport cooldown being a few tenths of a second away or server lag. This gave me the idea to try a new passive, Unstable Anomaly, that allows an automatic knockback to all enemies once every 60 seconds if life drops below 20%.

This turned out to be a fun choice that matches with the "infinity edge dance" flavor of the build. You can see this in action at 3:40 in the video where it offers a clutch save from near-certain death.

Gear Switch for Izual

If you don't have CC reduction while battling Izual you'll be frozen constantly. He'll go down quicker if you switch out a piece of gear for decreased control impairment. The optimal piece to combine with Dark Mage's Shade is the fairly inexpensive Gladiator Gauntlets. In playtesting gear variations in Acts 2 & 3 the Gauntlets are strong all-around if used instead of opting for CC reduction in the helm or with a slower weapon that gets less twisters off before CC impairing effects kick back in.

Oops

There's one death during the Shadow Clone phase. I made the mistake of deciding to teleport away and kite her. The far better option is to go right up and aggressively facesmash as you would for any other enemy as shown in the 2nd attempt.

Frozen Fast Shielding Teleporter

The shielding Hell Witches that start at 2:05 were the toughest battle. I ended up pulling them towards more mobs to Windup on while sticking close to them for Frost/Blast with Teleport because I couldn't get enough Wicked Wind crits in with them constantly shielding or teleporting. 

Build

Energy Twister / Wicked Wind, Diamond Skin / Crystal Shell, Frost Nova / Bone Chill, Explosive Blast / Chain Reaction, Teleport / Fracture, Energy Armor / Prismatic Armor, Critical Mass, Unstable Anomaly, Temporal Flux

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#VOYXhQ!hgU!.ccacY

Monday
Jul022012

7 Minute Inferno Siegebreaker Wizard Speedrun: Full Quest with 5 Elites and Assault Beast

Here's the Critical Mass Melee Wizard Windup build taking on the Siegebreaker quest in Act 3 Inferno from start to finish with all five elite packs and the Siege Engine kill in 7 minutes and 41 seconds.

Key Spells

Energy Twister / Frost Nova / Critical Mass / Explosive Blast / Teleport

Build

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#VOYXhQ!Ugb!YccacY

Oops

There's one death from an overly-aggressive teleport into the middle of an Illusionist pack with Fire Chains. The Unstable Anomaly passive in place of Temporal Flux would have saved me, so it's worth exploring as a build option. 

Passives & Runes

Glass Cannon is an option but my eHP is too low to reliably survive. It could be used with perfect play. I attempted the run several times with Teleport/Wormhole rather than Fracture in hopes of crossing the board quicker but the trailing crowd distraction with duplicates turned out much stronger.  Evocation is used as damage output is constrained by the already short cooldowns, so global 15% reduced cooldowns allows damage to get through faster.