Diablo 3: Weekend Grinding With Demon Hunters, Wizards and Barbarians

While I do have some time to play during the week, most of my progress for Diablo 3 comes exclusively on the weekends. This weekend my main target was to finish putting together an Unhallowed Essence build which I managed to accomplish. So I’d like to share some thoughts on that as well as other things I’ve been working on along the way.

Back at Blizzcon 2014, I managed to get a preview glimpse at the Unhallowed Essence set. The items were slightly different arranged than most current popular builds. I believe the three main changes were using Odyssey’s End bow with the Entangling Shot generator and Krelm’s Buff Bulwark. I can’t remember which rings were used but it wasn’t Focus and Restraint. My goal since then was to attempt to replicate the set, although I had to obviously tweak my build based on the gear that I’m using.

At the same time, the set has changed along with other sets and items. As a result, I had to switch things up a bit. The popular build at the moment is to use the full six set along with Focus and Restraint. Then stack as much Discipline on your weapon and quiver as permitted since Discipline will fuel your damage. The set is supposed to center around Multishot but can boost other generator damage as well. That includes Chakram and Elemental Arrow if you have the appropriate quiver or bow that converts them into generators.

For myself, I cannot do the seasonal Multishot build since the Dead Man’s Legacy currently is season only. Instead, I’m using the Spines of Seething Hatred to convert my Chakram into a generator in conjunction with Multishot for my main damaging capabilities. In addition to that, I have an excellent Witching Hour and Countess Julia’s Cameo to really help boost my damage. In turn, T6 runs for the most part are a 1-shot fest.

That said, the main weakness I’ve encountered with the build is the brittleness of the build. While you can average 100-200 million critical hits even with basic gear, your real weakness is lack of defense. The 20% damage reduction buff really does little, even in T6 runs. So I’m not sure what the best course of action is for solo high greater rift progression outside of group runs. Most popular builds that I’ve seen use the Zei’s, Bane of the Trapped and Bane of the Powerful gems and focus on high damage. Yet without double Unity with your follower and lack of pets to help tank mobs, this build does seem a little lacking in terms of survivability. Also, I don’t know if this build would synergize well with other DH gear for a hybrid type. Natalya’s might be the only set that provides some crossover just based on the slots and a Ring of Royal Grandeur. However, the skills themselves aren’t that great when used in conjunction with each other.

On the other hand, I have a very interesting Strafe Natalya’s build with most of the basic gear. Unlike other Demon Hunters that I’ve seen, the main difference for me is using a K’mar Tenclip as opposed to a Calamity. I do this for two reasons: 1) My K’mar Tenclip is ancient; 2) I get a free Drifting Shadow rune for Strafe. In turn that frees up another rune for Strafe for me among other things.

In addition, I run the Marauder’s 2 piece bonus which gives me the full farm so to speak. And lastly, I use the Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan for boosting my damage and resource reduction. The result is a very resource intensive and cooldown intensive build that is great for farming T6. It’s an extraordinarily fast pace build. The biggest weakness is the shortage of Discipline that is derived from Smoke Screen: Displacement. There’s a few things you can do to compensate such as using Preparation and Invigoration and Blood Vengeance with Reaper’s Wraps. But the damage and movement speed aspects are very bursty. I do prefer this build at the moment over Unhallowed Essence mostly because of the speed. But I’m certain that if I would want to climb the Greater Rift difficulty, I would have to switch to a Focus/Restraint build and full Natalya’s.

The other class I’m trying to push a bit is my wizard. I did grab the entire 6 piece Delsere’s Magnum Opus but I’m only using 3 pieces as most people end up using that in conjunction with 5 pieces of Tal Rasha. My goal at the moment is to land some Meteor Boots and find anything gear that might compliment either a Tal Rasha or Delsere build. The only piece of non-Delsere gear that I have is the Gesture of Orpheus which I’ve been hoarding. The problem is that the cooldown reduction for mine rolled a low 51% for Slow Time. However, I really haven’t found that to be a major issue.

The combo build actually is a lot of fun compared to this other Tal Rasha/Firebirds build I had been using. The Delsere/Tal Rasha build is very cooldown based and extremely bursty. Your Mirror images, Slow Time Bubbles and Black Hole provides a huge among of CC, offense and defense simultaneously. I think if you could get a maxed out Gesture of Orpheus at 70% Slow Time cooldown reduction, you might be able to spam Slow Time bubbles all over the place with the right CDR gear.

The main thing I like about this build is the sheer amount of damage and speed you’ll get from the burst damage and cooldown resets. Those three skills synergize extremely well with Illusionist which help keep you move very quickly and doing a huge amount of damage with all the dots from the Slow Time bubbles provides.

Tal Rasha and Firebirds on the other hand is really slow. It’s easier to play and more intuitive but you don’t really get those burst moments in the same manner. In fact, I would argue Tal Rasha + Firebirds is really boring to play, very resource intensive and slow. It’s a good way to start but it can’t compete with the sheer base damage from Tal Rasha + Delsere’s.

The game play for Tal Rasha + Delsere’s is awkward at first and requires good timing. It’s really not a spam skill spec, although you might be tempted to at first. The idea is to toss down your Slow Time bubbles on a group of enemies, teleport up to them to blast them with Calamity, trigger Mirror Images, which will place down more Mirror Images and possible Black Holes. Anything left over can be cleaned up with Black Hole and possibly a new Slow Time since the cooldown ought to be reset. Also, because you catch your enemies in a Slow Time bubble, your meteors from Tal Rasha’s ought to be triggered as well and hit the now slowed mobs.

Part of the trick with this build is to take some damage. That is risky because you will be facing mobs up close using your Teleport. But you Slow Time bubbles are pretty large and Mirror Images guarantees a nice little area of protection. For myself, the main thing I’m missing are the meteor boots. Instead, I use a pretty well rolled Hellfire Amulet. But the boots would be a far better choice in order for me to be able to progress in greater rifts with this build.

Beyond that the main build of choice for me is the Whirlwind barbarian using the Wrath of the Wastes set. I’m still missing a few pieces to really boost my potential, namely an ancient Bul-Kathos Solemn Vow, a better amulet and a trifecta Focus ring. That said, I’ve had almost no problems soaring through most Greater Rifts (where I’ve managed to do up to 39 no problem). One little trick I learned is that just keeping the right click on hold really isn’t enough since you don’t get the full effect of Focus/Restraint. You will get the 50% just from using Whirlwind but not the other half from utilizing a generator. It wasn’t as obvious to me at first since I’ve seen most people use Rend and Whirlwind but leave out a generator. The key to me is to put something like Bash for your left click and just hit something to trigger the generator damage boost. You don’t have to spam click it but just periodically hit something to gain the buff. Most of the time you won’t need to do this but against elites, etc. in higher greater rifts, you can definitely push faster and harder rather than be lazy in keeping one button down at all times.

Now, something I would like to try is alternative builds with Immortal Kings. I do have a Whirlwind hybrid barbarian who uses both Immortal Kings and Wrath of the Wastes. And just recently I found a newer version of the Boulder Breaker. So I’m tempted to try other builds just to see how they perform. For instance, a pure ancients/pet build or perhaps a Seismic Slam build (since I have the weapon for that as well). I doubt that any of these will beat a pure Wrath of the Wastes set build but I’m doing it more for curiosity.

At any rate, I still have a ways to go. Until then I’m going to continue playing non-seasonal while I grab gear

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