Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Diablo 3: Waste an hour on the skill planner

Blizzard have updated their Diablo 3 website with a skill planner and it really is a whole toy in itself. Thanks to Diablo3farming.com for the tip and to Marcko for the tip about Barbarian loot skills.

These are the characters I've made so far:

Lootmaster Barb

Runed Hammer of the Ancients gives enemies 55% chance to drop treasure or health globes when you crit them with the Hammer. This means crits are loot so we'll take the Ruthless passive for more crit chance. Runed Battle Rage gives you 20% chance when you crit them with anything and you only need to cast it once every 60 seconds with the Inspiring Presence passive. It also boosts all attacks. That passive also helps Threatening Shout which coats nearby baddies with a 22% improved treasure drop. That one not only helps you but helps your mates too. Treasure find Barbs are going to be a popular party member.

For gear we want high crit and fast weapons. Fast weapons take more swings to do the same job and more swings is more crits is more loot. That's why Frenzy is a good complementary skill it gives more swings. It can also be runed to move round the map faster.

Teleport Wizard

Let's face it teleporting around was what made the Sorceress in D2 the premier magic find class. The developers of D3 claimed they'd made the sort of teleport spam we saw in D2 not possible in the new game. I think they were wrong.

Firstly Teleport can be runed with Wormhole that puts a delay before the cooldown is applied. In other words as long as you keep teleporting Teleport doesn't have a cooldown. You Teleport, the clock ticks, one thousand and one, one thousand and two, and doink, Teleport has a cooldown. If you're quick enough to find a new destination and go you can spam it as long as you have enough Arcane Power.

So let's build in some Arcane power. Astral presence and Prodigy are two AP-improving passives and your signature spell can be runed to give arcane power every cast. Once runed a Magic Missile gives 19 AP as compared to Teleport's cost of 15 so if we run out we just need to stop and nuke something a couple of times.

OK so we have a build that can move about a lot, make it a bit tougher with an armour spell and add some damage. We're done.

The Butt-Kicking Monk

I built this Monk around the Seven Sided Strike skill. With rune and passive this is what the skill does:

Teleport between nearby enemies 7 times striking for 234% weapon damage every hit. Heals Monk for 3195 life. 75 spirit, no cooldown.

That gives a simple playstyle of building up spirit until we've got enough then destroying everything with our big uber skill.

The spirit generating attacks give 6 spirit per attack, 7.2 with our passive if we use a two-handed weapon. We'd want to use a two-handed weapon in any case because our big attack is based off weapon damage. Not dps, damage.

I picked Fists of Thunder and Way of the Hundred Fists for the spirit builders although to be honest they all seem pretty similar tactically. Runed one of them for faster spirit generation and the other for a short duration buff. So we'll hit things with Hundred Fists until we have 3 stacks and then use it once every 5 seconds to refresh the stack, using Fists of Thunder the rest of the time.

Mantra of Conviction pairs beautifully with Seven Sided Strike allowing us to set up a pack to take more damage before we unleash our big hit. Breath of heaven allows us to do a big group heal instead of a Seven Sided Strike which could be useful and certainly will be desired in parties. In hardcore especially it's good to be able to keep a disconnected player alive.


Rocketwoman is a Demon Hunter based on the passive that gives rockets 100% bonus damage. Rockets are gained by glyphing certain skills and generally the rocket version does about the same damage as the vanilla version before the bonus is applied.

She also incidentally has gold-sniffing ferrets. In England in rural areas we have a sport known as ferret-legging. Your friends put a ferret, which is an animal like a thin small cat, into the bottom of your trousers and tie the leg of the trousers closed at the ankle. The frantic animal then wriggles around and probably bites. They usually climb upwards. The main interest of the sport is watching to see if the animal will bite the participant in the bollocks (it's always men who play this sport for some reason). So perhaps D3 is making a nod to the sport here with the ferrets running up your enemies' trousers to bite their trouser pockets where they keep their purses and their secret codpiece gold stashes to cause them to drop more gold for you to find. Even if I were not designing these characters with a view to gold and magic find that's a pop culture reference too wonderful to pass up.

I was once offered a go by sniggering farmers while on holiday in Somerset. I declined.

Let's talk about rockets. Not only are rockets phallic and thus fit the comedy theme of the build but they also come in quite a variety of types and seem rather powerful.

Sentry gives us a passive rocket-firing turret, Strafe allows us to fire rockets on the move, Multishot is a massive volley of arrows and rockets. We'll take Impale too for a single target fight and Marked for Death for a damage buff.

Big Bad Zoo Zoo

This is an attempt to re-make one of D2's most popular builds, the Zookeeper Necro. Zookeepers were very good indeed in D2 because they were one of the most gear-neutral builds. They rolled over everything except Act Bosses (which were specially adjusted to do disproportionately high damage to summoned minions). That's less of a problem in D3 because it's much easier to group, you don't risk being PKed (player-killed - the end of the road for Hardcore characters) and we've no reason to believe that minions will be similarly gimped on Act bosses. The goal is to keep a big army of monsters up that passively kill the monsters for you while you run around picking up loot, breaking urns and opening chests.

Dramatis personae:

Enter 4 Zombie Dogs, stage left. 3 from the basic spells, 4 with the passive which also makes them tougher. From youtube footage it seems like these are always out and follow you around. The core unit of the army.

Enter one Gargantuan. A big zombie. It may have a limited duration as there's a rune that makes it last only 20 seconds (possibly implying that the vanilla form lasts more than 20 seconds but not indefinitely).

Enter one big fat spider. The mother spider births spiderlings and lasts for 22 seconds.

Enter one big fat toad that swallows enemies whole.

Enter one army of dagger-wielding fetishes. It lasts 20 seconds and can be cast every 38 seconds thanks to cooldown reductions from rune and passive.

Enter one ritual dancer who buffs all the others.

That's quite a cast. Basic tactic is move to somewhere near some monsters and while your dogs buy you time drop some creatures on them then ignore the fight and hoover up loot. Wearing Thorns gear causes the monsters to beat themselves to death on your pets which gets the job done even faster. But it's probably simpler to just wear magic find in every slot.


  1. I'm well over the 30 but today I feel like a cute little baby waiting for Santa down the chimney...

  2. Ooooo, exciting!

    I can't believe Blizzard gave bladestorm to the /diablo monk/ and not to warriors though (I mean proper bladestorm, not the whirlwind effect they get currently). Jeez.

  3. And I am totally going to try a monk built around the version of blinding flash that makes all your blinded enemies attack each other!

  4. Before you dismiss whirlwind have a look at the Crimson version of the spell shown here. Not only does it do double damage but it looks stunning.


    When you can be a Volcano Barb all is right with the world :)

  5. I'm sure whirlwind will be great in D3, I'm talking about Whirlwind in WoW (which is fine, but not really what I wanted when I took the bladestorm skill.)