Blizzard Explains The Barb WW/Sprint Nerfing

Somewhat tucked away in the DiabloWikiPatch 1.0.5 notes was this tidbit about a change to a popular Barbarian skill.

That might not sound like a lot, but the proc coefficient is what causes all those other tasty effects to trigger, such as Critcs and Life on Hit, which is why Barbarians using this skill, almost always paired with Whirlwind, were basically unkillable. That was okay with the devs in v1.0.4, but with the DiabloWikiMonster Power system coming up in v1.0.5 it was too OP, since Barbs could just run in circles indefinitely and eventually whittle down even the fiercest enemies on Monster Power 10, at little risk to themselves as their Sprint tornadoes kept hitting, procing, and healing.

So the proc chances were dropped from 20% to 8%, which means the build will still work fine for dealing damage, but the Life on Hit and Critical hits will be procing much less frequently.

Build diversity? Killing WW barbs?

Wheres the diversity in killing a build? i didnt paid for this D3 1.05, at least give my money back!

Lylirra: Run the Like Wind makes WW/double tornado barb a very strong build by combining multiple benefits into one neat little package: life regeneration, Fury gain, damage, in-combat mobility, and run speed. It’s all there. Ask just about anyone (or take a look at the posts in these forums) and they’ll tell you WW barbs are incredibly powerful, and it’s also one of the first builds people point to when the word “nerf” is mentioned.

I think most players — whether they’d admit it publicly or not — probably agree that the tornadoes left by sprinting (a skill that provides utility, huge mobility, and proc effects including Life On Hit and Into The Fray) shouldn’t be so powerful in comparison to other skills that have restrictions on them. Like Hammer of the Ancients, which requires you to stand still, swing, and who’s sole purpose is to deal damage. We’d like to bring the skill more in-line with other build options, and we think that from a pure design standpoint the problem is tornadoes triggering procs, most specifically Life on Hit.

The survivability you get from WW with LoH is definitely an outlier compared to other available builds. This wasn’t a huge issue previously, but once we introduced Monster Power it became clear that we needed to make some adjustments. Basically, when we were doing our initial testing for 1.0.5, anything that didn’t kill WW barbs in the first second of combat failed to be any sort of real threat, and that applied even after scaling Monster Power up to its higher settings. The amount of damage enemies do at higher Monster Power levels is pretty insane, and while the WW barb was still doing fine, it felt punishingly unfair to every other class and barbarian build.

This introduced another problem: if a WW barb could heal from empty to full health in half a second, then for any monster to pose a threat it would need to take you from full to dead in less than half a second. We could certainly make damage more spikey, but most players don’t enjoy being insta-gibbed, and we tend to agree that going from full health to DEAD without ever seeing your health hit those intermediate values can make combat feel a little shallow. Having times when you want to play more conservatively vs. more aggressively can add depth to combat and make it more interesting, so (in general) we try to avoid creating situations where spikey damage is the norm.

So, even though we really liked the build, in the end all the data was telling us that WW needed to be changed.

That was just the start of Lylirra’s very lengthy explanation; click through to read the full statement.

They like nerfing fun builds.
Lylirra: Just to give you some history, when we started to troubleshoot how we could better balance Run Like Wind, we didn’t want to remove the ability for tornadoes to trigger procs completely. Rather than break the build, we wanted to find ways to reduce the sheer efficiency of it without removing the fundamental mechanics that make it work. We also discussed options outside of adjusting its proc coefficient, too:

  • We looked at just nerfing Sprint’s tornado damage, which would allow us to keep the core mechanics without the build being greatly more effective than every other build in the game, but the life regen still made the game too bursty at the higher Monster Power levels.
  • We also looked at reducing the run speed. But, the running speed boost is baked into Sprint, so it felt wrong to consider changing that aspect of the skill. The fact you have in-combat mobility is a fundamental property of leaving tornadoes behind as you sprint, so if we removed that aspect it’d be the same as deleting the skill from the game, and we’re not interested in doing that.
  • The last alternative was Fury cost. You gain Fury with WW, but it comes from Battle Rage – Into the Fray. Into The Fray seems to interact just fine with other skills, which really underscores that the real issue is the tornadoes’ ability to proc effects.
  • After a lot of internal testing and heated debates, we ultimately decided to address the core of the issue and reduce Run Like Wind’s proc coefficient, and we brought it down by a significant amount (from 0.2 to 0.08). We want to make sure whirlwinding is still viable, though, so to compensate, we also dropped down Whirlwind’s Fury cost from 16 to 9. This should make it possible for players to still whirlwind continuously, but it lessens the need to have Sprint in order to use Whirlwind at all.

    Of course, we’re really looking forward to players jumping on the PTR, testing out the changes first-hand, and sharing their feedback. We’re still working out a few kinks with the PTR client, but hopefully we can start getting that feedback pretty soon now. 🙂

    This isn’t a huge surprise; the build was pretty obviously overpowered and furthermore, it seemed unintended. We debated this on the podcast a few times, and generally agreed that Blizzard had almost certainly meant the Sprint > Run Like The Wind rune effect as a cool bonus feature, kind of like the DiabloWikiVault > DiabloWikiTrail of Cinders rune effect or DiabloWikiSpirit Walk > DiabloWikiSeverance, where the character adds a bit of damage to their escape skill.

    It seemed highly unlikely that the devs had meant Barbs to be able to Sprint indefinitely, while maintaining full health and dealing big damage, without any real personal risk. And given this patch nerf, it would appear that we were correct.

    So, all the people not playing Barbs are indifferent or feel this is a good change to take down an OP build, and all the Barb players are outraged and threatening to boycott? Or do you think the build will still work okay; you’ll just need to up your DiabloWikicritical hit chance to like 70%?

    Related to this article
    You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

    26 thoughts on “Blizzard Explains The Barb WW/Sprint Nerfing

        • The build itself and how it functioned was not broken. As they stated, there were some issues: 1) it did too much damage, and 2) you gained too much life. Damage could have been fixed by nerfing the rune’s tornado damage. And the second issue applies to life on hit, not this build. Life on hit is broken. It is too good(or other means of gaining life are too bad).

          Instead of addressing a core issue, they bandaid patch the latest “abuse” of this core issue. They need to learn to look at the big picture, as this fix is bogus. I want a fun running build that can function. I don’t care if I do half the damage I do now. Instead I cannot maintain the fury needed to run the build so it is totally broken.

          P.S. – I use a 2h mace and life steal, which is why I only farmed act 2 and couldn’t handle act 3. So the 1h/LoF build might be in line but they killed it for those of us who played the way they *wanted* to play.

    1. I still can’t even get on the PTR to check any differences. Instantly disconnects me from service every time I log in.

    2. Well, I’ve been using this build for quite sometime and honestly, I am happy they are nerfing it. I was beginning to think that I would never have a reason to try any other class or and other build.

      I thought about the expac and realized that if this build wasn’t nerfed, I would just continue playing my barb with the same old spec…

      People think this doesn’t help build diversity? Well guess what? It does.

      1.05 I’ll actually be trying a few new set ups. I am extremely excited for this patch if only for the fact they are nerfing my incredibly OP build, and I finally have a reason to do something else for once =)

      • Also fyi – crit chance is unaffected. (Post clarity)

        Proc coefficient affects only things such as LOH or skills that – Have a chance to “blank” on critical hits.

        The amounts of crits will still be the same, but in the particular case, battle rage – into the fray wont proc 20% of the time, but rather 8%.
        This is important because this build will more or less be very viable still, but upkeeping Wrath of the Beserker infinitely will not be possible.

        Just thought I’d chime in on that 😉

    3. If 1 class/build is know to be “the best” or “most efficient”, it has to be nerfed or all others have to be buffed. Easy as that.

      You think it’s fun putting 400h into a character only to hear that class X got suddenly OP after a patch?

    4. This build should have been nerfed in 1.04, and I’m amazed it wasn’t when other far less powerful builds like CM/TankingDH were nerfed.

      I guess seeing Alk get 50-60m xp an hour and then trying it out themselves with monster power finally made them realize it.

      The biggest problem I have with the build (which I use on my barb) is that besides being by far the strongest build in the game at any comparable gear level, is that it just doesn’t feel like how a barb should be played.

      Honestly you barely even need to WW until Act 3. I can just sprint around in Act 2 in all gear I’ve found myself (no gah/rmah on my barb) without ever attacking and kill packs easier/faster than characters with far better gear.

      My barb INB4LOLULIE

      • how a barb SHOULD BE PLAYED???!?!? -_- – I thought D3 was all about any player being able to play as he pleases – instead of going back to let’s all play the most efficient build like D2 – I thought that the extremly vast diversity of possible skill combinations/builds was aht made D3 fun…o well – my bad 🙁

        • I think he meant the distinction between a BARBARIAN and a ballerina/olympic athlete hybrid. As in the archetypical barbarian( smash things dead with big weapons ) can only ever be half as efficient as one that prances around them.

    5. good. maybe there’ll be more variety now than the insta-WW just like in D2 (This coming from a barb-player).

    6. This would change the way WW barbs whirls XD Instead of facerolling into the mob, they will whirl away from the monster to lure & to “feel” the damage received and the heal you get.
      I dont know how it will affect WoTB uptime, but i still think you can keep it in full duration as long you’re hitting something with your Sprint Tornados.

      This nerf calls for the player to give more effort skill-wise WW’ing, before gear.

      Since in 1.04, it was like jump into the mob, start your pattern, then watch tv.

    7. Posting to say that even without a mighty weapon in my mainhand I really didn’t have much trouble surviving or keeping my fury up, even in MP10. The challenge there is just how damn long it takes to kill anything. Then again, I’ve got a 5 piece IK set and a bunch of other multimillion gold items *shrug*

    8. Mkay, so they are nerfing a viable build in game that has no player interaction. Why are they balancing it? For pvp that will come in a year ++?

      • It makes sense in order to increase build diversity they may have to nerf a few builds, just like they have had to buff a fair share. If 97% of barbarians are using a certain skill build, there obviously isn’t much diversity. Even if a player wants to play something different, they will feel gimped without ww/sprint. Changes like these are necessary.

    9. Glad they wised up and nerfed this one. I didn’t play it on my barb because it isn’t fun, but I was getting tired of reading “help me gear for WW/sprint” threads.

      • then you just shouldn’t have read them anymore instead of being glad over some other player’s unhappiness – now really, you should be glad over some improvement over your build instead of being happy for the nerfing of a build you haven’t even tried – you thought it was not fun while maybe 100 others thought it was. This is not constructive change – just profitable – in one direction >> AH. <> so those many are back to AH >> Blizzard gets money – ~ kchiiiing !! ~

    10. I can’t believe people actually support Blizzards Dictator police like attitude, telling us a to play a game the way they want, a game we payed for, what ever happened to fun?
      How can you all support these kinds of shitty nerfs? DIVERSITY? so you make a tried and true build that people actually enjoy and make it almost useless so that people will be forced to look to other experiments? What kind of sick jokes are these so called Diablo devs?
      If they wanted diversity, they should have added stat points and skill trees.
      Even after all this, I can’t believe that people actually say that Diablo 3 is getting better.

    11. I don’t understand when people say that tornado build isn’t fun. To me that is exactly what I’m looking for in a RPG game. Max killing speed, movement speed (and loot ofc, but lets not go there). I do think think it’s going to be less fun to play the barb now, but I fully understand why Blizz made the nerf. What I do want to question is why this build was so OP from the beginning. It’s not like its hard to discover. They would have seen this if they just equipped a barb with LOH gear and spam run like the wind. I wonder how Blizz is doing their testing.
      In the current game design I don’t believe they will see that many builds being used. Most players will go for the best possible combination and the itemization don’t give you that many options either. If they want build diversity they need to improve the items diversity as well.

      • Don’t be silly. The game has literally millions of possible combinations. It took a few weeks before the millions of D3 players figured this out and popularized it. Of course their testing won’t find everything.

        • ? I was not talking about the tornado build, but run like the wind in combination with LOH. If they did test that they would have seen how powerful the proc rate is on that skill, and that’s what they’re nerfing. Ofc it’s impossible to test all skill combinations.

    12. you know what – this build is so good that barb players do not buy from AH as much…hmmm…that is a problem – NERF IT – problem solved -_-

    13. Per post – some Barbs could fully heal in literally .5 seconds.
      Nerf proc rate by 60%.
      Now those Barbs can fully heal in about .8 seconds?
      That’s a meaningless difference. This build will still own this game.

    Comments are closed.