I’m at the point in non-season where I managed to acquire a reasonable amount of gear for each toon/class x2 that I wanted to provide an overall assessment of things since patch 2.2. I can’t speak for certain specific builds that require extraordinary gear (like an Ancient Kridershot) but just my experience with sets and how I managed to gear up as close as possible to some ideal builds.
First, I will say that the Wrath of the Wastes pure Whirlwind build has been my favorite of everything that came from patch 2.2. Although this build has it share of issues, I like the mindless yet simple playstyle. I find that for the most part it’s a great starter type of build and one that I can use to level up gems consistently for Greater Rifts as well as just reasonably fast farming. At higher level greater rifts, the build does have some major issues like defense and dealing good single target damage. Also, Rend becomes pretty useless for this build and the Belt of Lamentation really does not synergize well because of the momentarily lapse in defense during Rend. In addition, using the Focus/Restraint bonus with a generator such as Bash causes a similar issue.
I’m hoping that if they re-examine this set, they remove Rend from the bonus and either make it work with a generator (perhaps making it so you do not have to stop using whirlwind) or provide some other boost to single target damage. Of course, the real thing that is needed are the Wrath of the Berserker bracers that was removed, but that’s an entire issue unto itself.
There is the popular Immortal Kings 4 set bonus + 6 piece Wrath of the Wastes hybrid build. While this is a great alternative to the pure Wrath of the Wastes standard build, I don’t care for it as much. I think the primary reason is that the play style just isn’t as smooth since you run out of Fury constantly. Also, you lose some momentum without the double Bul-Kathos weapons. It might perform well at higher greater rifts by comparison (maybe even better if the Wrath of the Berserker bracers return) but it’s not the same.
Another build that I really enjoy is the Zunimassa Pet Doctor build. The one that is ranking currently is the Poison Dart Carnevil build. However, while having the gear to handle the build, I just didn’t find myself as much of a fan. Instead, I prefer employing either Acid Cloud or Haunt as my spenders which activate the 6 piece bonus. And by using the Belt of Transcendence, you have quite a bit of room to add things here and there to give this build some variety. The only thing I’m missing is the ever evasive Starmetal Kukri. I might try another one handed weapon if I can find something better. Either way, this build made it actually fun to play Witch Doctors again.
Next, I will say that the Unhallowed Essence build is really good. I thought I wouldn’t be able to give up the M6 build. However, Unhallowed Essence is very straight forward as a play style and removes your dependencies on sentries. The damage is just really awesome, but you do lose a lot of defense as well as most of your companions. You do have a little more weapon options though and a few side builds like the Ball Lightning build. The only thing I’m missing is the seasonal Dead Man‘s Legacy quiver but I still can do the Ball Lightning build if a good ancient Kridershot drops.
Another build I’ve started to take a liking to is the Roland’s Sweep Attack build. The main items outside of the Roland’s set that is required for this build is a Golden Flense and the Denial shield. The popular version uses a Convention of Elements ring and double Unity along with focusing on lightning. In my case, I discovered an Omnislash belt and am using that in conjunction with Focus and Restraint. I think you can use either if you’re just farming T6. The main weakness overall with this build is the lack of defense compared to the perma-Prophet builds as well as the occasional Wrath starvation. Also, it feels slower in some ways because you aren’t as cooldown focused. But the play style is straight forward and fun.
For Wizards, I enjoyed playing a hybrid Tal Rasha + Delsere’s Magnum Opus. Obviously, pure Tal Rashas are what’s in. However, the hybrid set for me is very interesting. One of the main reasons it appealed to more than the pure Tal Rasha build is because of an older Gesture of Orpheus wand i kept around in my bank. Since non-set legendary items are not retroactively affected by changes, my version of the wand has a 51% cooldown reduction to Slow Time. Obviously, since Delsere’s Magnum Opus centers around Slow Time and thus cooldown reduction as a critical stat, I’m essentially tossing up tons of bubbles all the time. The play style can be slightly awkward because of the rotation you must perform. However, you’re constantly resetting your Teleport, Black Hole and Mirror Image and can move around quite quickly while dissolving enemies caught in the Slow Time bubble. Since I now have Nilfur‘s Boast, I can do a pretty nice damaging hybrid build.
I haven’t tried a pure Delsere’s build though and haven’t seen it perform. I do have the gear and am thinking about testing it out. But at this stage I’m less inclined compared to the hybrid build. The hybrid build for me is awesome for fast farming and that’s where I get most of my enjoyment from this game.
Finally, there’s the Natalya’s build. The Strafe-Rain of Vengeance is one of the weirdest yet most fun farming builds around. Also, it’s incredibly high damaging and apparently has a reasonable amount of survivability. Right now, I’m still looking for a Focus ring to do the pure Natalya’s build. In the meantime, I’m still using the two piece bonus from Marauder’s, giving me companions and the hexing pants for resource regeneration. I still prefer Unhallowed Essence better because it doesn’t feel as sloppy in terms of game play, but this build mostly exist for me to farm quickly (like keywardens).
Now, for the builds I don’t care for, I want to start off pointing at the Jade Harvester build. Obviously, the nerf to Spirit Walk really hurt the build. But the changes to Jade Harvester hasn’t really impacted the build that much more. Certainly, the Wormwood staff has helped and made the build less mana intensive than before, the real issue remains with both defense and cooldown issues. Most of the time I’ve found myself just running around trying to infect enemies with my Locust Swarm cast through Wordwood since Haunt can’t be spam cast on a single target. But the real loser is Soul Harvest in all of this because of the long cooldown wait. While gaining all runes for Soul Harvest may seem ideal, the only thing you really need is just a way for eliminating that cooldown cost. That won’t change anytime soon though so this build for all intents and purposes is a goner.
Raiment of a Thousand Storms build also seems like a cool build. I started playing that particular character again but the play style just isn’t that smooth. People call it Raekors on steroids. But it feels a bit awkward. Part of it for me is just lacking a few items like the Spirit Guard bracrers, a pair of Focus and Restraint and possibly an [d3In-Geom[/d3] weapon to help with the cooldown reduction. I can’t help the Spirit Guard item for now since that’s season only. But the other weapon of choice is the Flying Dragon which I do have and use. I did switch things around slightly by going double Unity and using the Boon of the Hoarder gem and will be farming for a Goldwrap. The idea with the Boon and Goldwrap combination is to build up a high amount of defense. Also, with the In-Geom weapon, you’ll be coasting through T6 faster than any other class (in theory). Still, it’s not that fascinating of a build for me compared to others mostly because of the lack of smoothness.
Another build that I tried and gave up quickly on was the Seismic Slam Immortal Kings build. I read originally that this was going to be one of the premier builds prior to a major nerf. Add to the fact that the Wrath of the Berserker bracers were removed and you basically are holding a fairly gimped out build. The alternative build that some people mentioned was a Hammer of the Ancients build. However, I ditched the weapon that worked with this build and just gave Seismic Slam a try with the weapon that has the reduced resource cost. Ultimately, I found that build really slow and boring. I really was hoping for something like a ranged Barbarian but the results and play style just aren’t there.
Also, Firebirds 2.0 was pretty meh to me. It was okay in the prior patches but the kiting and cooldown play style just does little for me. I’ve seen a few updates to the main build which I’m considering trying. At least, if you’re aiming to do the older, Blizzard-Apocalypse build, you’re not in for much of a major change.
Lastly, one not-so-honorable mention in the least favorite builds is the Inna’s set. I’ve done very little with either monk this patch. I did give the hybrid Sunwuko-Inna’s build a try, which didn’t take that much more gear. That build is pretty fun for me and the change up to Inna’s makes the hybrid version reasonably strong. However, the pure Inna’s build really does nothing and supposedly is quite weak. Inna’s seems better as a bridge set for Sunwuko’s. Perhaps, it might be even somewhat interesting for a 5/3 type as well. But there’s just better stuff around.
That covers the best/worst builds. Now, I want to move onto the topic of fixing the other that haven’t been updated. We do have a bunch of odd ball 4 piece sets (and the Helltooth set) that are in pretty bad states (although Sunwuko’s isn’t totally unusable compared to the others). The developers did mention that they intend to upgrade them all to a full 6 piece set up with Sunwuko not yet being finished for this patch. I wanted to delve into a few ideas just wandering around in my chaotic mind for some improvements.
- Thorns of the Invoker – This set really feels it should’ve been meant for Crusaders. Currently, it’s probably one of the most disappointing drops around in that it ends up becoming Forgotten Souls the moment you see it. Of all the classes, Crusaders has one of the better (if not only?) thorns abilities (actually a passive called Iron Maiden) that could make a set like this work. If you could increase the crusader’s defense with a blocking mechanism and have it work with say Steed Charge in some fashion and add a shield, this set might be worth something. Although we do see Crusaders using Vacuum or Drawn and Quartered for dragging enemies along, I could imagine a kind of magnetic style that works with this type of gear. Unfortunately, it might turn the crusader into a new version of the earlier version for Raekor but hopefully the improvement here would be to eliminate the cooldown aspect.
- Might of the Earth – Originally, this was one of the more decent T6 sets and actually was quite a bit of fun. However, the set by itself just didn’t do enough damage to be competitive for greater rifts. Even adding sets like Immortal Kings for the Ancients did little to improve this set early on. But I think the fantasy still should apply with the barbarian just jumping around and stomping on foes left and right, causing catastrophic destruction in their wake. The set does provide good movement for the barbarian but you lack defense. Perhaps, one solution is to eliminate the cooldown on Earthquake and moving it just to Heroic Leap and increasing the damage significantly and/or providing an item to give either all runes to the build or providing some much needed defense. Sure, we may have Lut Socks but triple leap just isn’t enough.
- The Shadow’s Mantle – Supposedly, the purpose of this demon hunter set was for defense. However, no one ever bothers with this set unless they’re still gathering gear. This set feels like it should embody the spirit of a rogue/thief-like character, which is partly what the demon hunter has in terms of skills. As we do not have a pure assassin style character, the demon hunter can possibly make up for that role. Here, maybe the fantasy would be a ninja or assassin that darts in-and-out of foes. Fan of Knives, Impale, Caltrops and Spike Trap are good candidates for creating a close up, ninja, CC oriented type of demon hunter. Perhaps, provide near 100% uptime on Shadow Power or Smoke Screen and let them zip in and out of the shadows to drop Caltrops to lock their enemies into place while smacking them with either Fan of Knives for AoE damage or Impale for single target.
- Vyr’s Amazing Arcana – Like the Might of the Earth set, Vyr’s was somewhat favored early on during this expansion. The only problem with Vyr’s was that Archon, even with all the runes, is far too squishy. So no one runs with Archon anymore, sadly. However, my guess is that similar to the Wrath of the Wastes set, we might see an infinite Archon type of mode once the full 6 piece is released as well as additional items that compliment the build. Heck, even using the Delsere’s set in conjunction with this set might be cool as long as they get rid of that useless +500 intelligence part and figure out 2 more set bonuses. Maybe those two would be to decrease the cooldown on a per hit basis, change the Pure Power rune to a better defense one and make the beam attack far more damaging. Maybe something like the Wand of Woh could make a major comeback here too.
- Helltooth Harness – This is such a terrible set I don’t know where to begin. I’ve seen videos where people attempt to make this awful set work but at the moment it just has no place. I suppose part of the issue is that Wall of Zombies sucks badly. I’ve heard that this set supposedly is for tanking but outside of a tiny wall that taunts, the ideas in this set really are impractical for anything outside of novelty. So the real question is how should this set work? Would just increasing damage and adding defense make this set any better? Or should we focus on what the fantasy of this set should be? My feeling is that this set ought to allow the Witch Doctor to create a semi-permanent wall. I mean, we do have Wallers that are the bane of every players’ existence (amongst other things) but we don’t really have the equivalent since wizards cannot erect the old favorite firewall. So how about allowing this set to provide the Witch Doctor the ability to create a massive wall? I think it’d be a ton of fun. The one thing this game doesn’t really really provide is a mechanism where the players can create obstacles for monsters. Instead, we’re expected to either dive head first into an explosion or get trapped/nuked by someone from afar. If anything providing the ability to generate obstacles sounds like a ton of fun just because no one else is really doing anything like this.
At any rate, I heard it’s going to be a while until the next patch. Supposedly, the current season will last until at least August. That kinda blows but at the same time, I’m hoping that the next patch will introduce a combination of new content, maps, items, sets and build ideas.