Guest Article: New BiS Legendary Rings in Patch 2.2.0


Blizzard has repeatedly spoken of their desire to break up the BiS legendary ring trifecta of RoRG/Unity/SoJ, and the devs want to do it by adding more gear variety, rather than nerfing any of the current big three. Their approach seems to be working, judging by the much greater gear variety seen now on the PTR, and here’s how it’s happening.

There are three fronts in the effort: 1) New legendary rings that are better/different than the current big three, 2) new defensive bonuses (via LGems and set item bonuses) that can replace the double Unity trick, and 3) less RoRG-dependence due to item sets with seven pieces. (On this front, it would great if Bliz added a 7th piece to RoS six-piece sets like Jade and Raekor’s and Marauder’s, like Firebird’s and the upgraded vanilla sets have.)

For a much closer focus on the new/improved legendary and set ring options, we’ve got an excellent guest article by a new site contributor, LukDeRiff. (Originally posted in our Diablo 3 community forum.) In this piece he covers a number of the changes to legendary rings and explains why some of the new ones are as good or better than the current BiS options. Here’s an excerpt from his article, focused on the surprising potential of the odd DiabloWikilegendary affix being added to the Broken Promises legendary ring.


Broken Promises

  • After five consecutive non-critical hits, your chance to critically hit is increased by 100% for 3 seconds
  • On first look you might think that this is not really that exciting but you would be mistaken. Yes if you are hitting very slowly and have a which chance to critically hit it is obviously awful. But what if you gear in such a way that you do not get any bonuses to your critical hit chance from your gear? You would be left with 5% critical hit chance. From there on the potential of this ring is entirely dependent on your ability to hit the enemy as often as possible.

    Let’s assume you use some basic attack that only hits once per use the you would need 2.4 Attacks per second to get approximately 50% uptime (which is equivalent to 50% Critical Hit Chance). Pretty good stuff.

    But what if you you could hit 5, 10, or 20 times per second? You would have close to 100% uptime on the buff. That is insane! There are actually a number of ways you can achieve this. Pet builds are awesome for this. Witch Doctors, Crusaders (Bowmen) and even Barbarians (with the new Immortal King Set) can basically have permanent uptime for this ring. Then there are abilities that inherently hit at a very fast rate such Elemental Arrow – Ball Lightning, Energy Twister, Wave of Light – Pillar of the Ancients.

    Similar to the Bastion of Will Set, if you can make this work the damage boost is very potent. Additionally you free up affixes that are traditionally occupied by Critical Hit Chance (Gloves, Helmet, Bracers, Amulet, both rings).

    Click through for the full article and discussion of the general state of Legendary Rings in Reaper of Souls.

    Item Balance in Diablo 3 and the Ring Dilemma

    Ever since Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls launched the choice of viable Rings in higher difficulties was very limited. Very quickly 3 rings rose to prominence and have been dominating the competition ever since. Those 3 rings are: Ring of Royal Grandeur (RoRG), Unity and Stone of Jordan (SOJ). There are some exceptions such as the Bul Kathos Wedding Band, Tall Mans Finger and more recently the Leorics Signet and Hellfire Ring but these are only used in niche cases.

    With Patch 2.2 Blizzard seems to make a serious effort to break up this trinity of viable rings and in my opinion this presents a great opportunity to talk about item balance in Diablo 3. Balance is a delicate topic which has caused many heated debates. Most players have an intuitive opinion on balance but very few take the time to think about the concept of balance. Thus we need to take a closer look at the idea of balance itself, then we will see how it applies when it comes to items in Diablo 3 and finally how the changes from Patch 2.2 will help to resolve the Ring dilemma.

    The Concept of Balance

    "Jay, what have you done?"

    “Jay, what have you done?”

    Balance is a complex topic and an attempt to explain it fully would take far too long (and probably bore you to death). So we are going to focus on capturing and understanding the core idea of balance.

    Most people base their conception of Balance on the idea of Fairness. Fairness is concept that is used in many different situations but when it comes to games it is mostly used in relation to competitive games (e.g. Counter Strike, League of Legends, Chess). In those games players directly compete with each other and such a game is fair if every competing player/team has an equal chance to win the game. This is easily achievable in symmetrical games. In these games every player has the same set of starting options. It gets more problematic in asymmetrical games where players have different sets of starting options (e.g. in chess white moves first).

    Diablo is not really a competitive in the sense mentioned above but players still have an intuitive feeling that it is bad if one item is much better than all other items of the same type (or one class is much better that all the others but that is a discussion for another time ;)). Why is that?

    A good place to start the search for an answer to this question is a quote from Sid Meier (creator of the Civilization Series, Pirates, Alpha Centauri and other great games).

    “A (good) game is a series of interesting decisions” – Sid Meier

    In Diablo 3 you make tons of decisions: Which character to play, which skills to use, which items to use, which mode to play (season or non season, softcore or hardcore) and many more. There are tons of different kinds and layers of decisions but this time we will focus on one question: Which items shall I use ?

    If you are making a decisions you choose in between at least two options. If only one option is viable then the decision becomes redundant since you will choose that option every time. Such a decision can not be interesting.

    So for a decision to be possibly interesting you have to have at least two viable options. This does not mean that if you have two viable options the decisions is interesting but that if you don’t the decision can not be interesting.

    What makes an option viable ? It has to be as good or better as any other option in at least one situation from a certain perspective. That perspective is often the “playing to win” mentality, whose core ideal is to win the game (in competitive games) or achieve the goal of the game (non competitive games). Again, if an option fulfills these conditions it is not necessarily viable but if it does not fulfill these conditions it can not be viable.

    So how many options need to be viable for a decision to be interesting ? All possible options ? 90% ? 55.58% ? At this point we get into difficult territory and the short answer is: there is no clear answer.
    However some things we can say for certain (in addition to what we already know): If an option is never viable it is redundant and if all options are equally viable in every situation the choice becomes meaningless.

    To sum this section up: Balance is about identifying the viability of options. Enough of the dry theory, lets get into the juicy reality of Diablo.

    The Problem: The Unholy Trinity

    Three rings to rule them all.

    Three rings to rule them all.

    As pointed out above many players feel that when it comes to choosing the rings for your character there is a very limited selection of viable choices. Why are these rings so much better than the others ? The answer may seem obvious, but remember balance is about identifying the viability of options so understanding what makes an options viable is essential.

    To begin answering this question we have to ask ourselves first: What is the goal of the Diablo ? A lot of people play Diablo for different reasons and with different goals. Some want to achieve the highest possible Greater Rift Level possible, some want to have a relaxed time with their friends, some want to play a Barbarians that runs around only using Frenzy. To make every item viable from every perspective is almost impossible. For the purpose of brevity we are going to focus on the “playing to win” perspective. Players with that mentality try to beat the highest Greater Rift Level possible and gain as much loot (i.e. legendaries) as possible in the shortest amount of time.

    In order to do this in Diablo you need to kill enemies as fast as possible while not dying (especially in hardcore) ideally on the highest difficulty (Torment 6). This means damage output and survivability are essential. Every item in Diablo is either designed to increase one or both of those factors. With that in mind we can now take a look at the three rings and identify why they are so potent choices.

    1. DiabloWikiStone of Jordan

    The Stone of Jordan is the best ring in the game when it comes to pure damage output. The guaranteed bonus to elemental damage and elite damage is much more potent than any of the regular affixes.

    It has to be noted though that the SOJ is not all upside. You give up two valuable primary affixes but what you get in return is much better from a damage perspective. This is also due to the fact that it is relatively hard to get large amounts of elite damage and elemental damage through other means.

    2. DiabloWikiUnity

    The Unity is arguable only very valuable in solo play where you can get 50% damage reduction through the double Unity trick (look in the spoiler for a description).

    Unity is an interesting case because it does not only offer the more survivability than any ring but also more survivability than any other single item in the game. This makes it basically mandatory for higher Greater Rift levels in solo play (unless you character gets one shot anyways like Demon Hunters in Greater Rift Levels above 50). In addition it always rolls with Critical Hit Chance and 10-15% Bonus to Elite Damage (which is in most cases an awesome damage increase).

    3. DiabloWikiRing of Royal Grandeur

    The Value of the RoRG is hard to quantify. It certainly does not come from the regular affixes since it always rolls with Life on Hit and Attack Speed which are not very desirable in most cases. However its legendary affix allows you to make it a set piece for any set and thus equip another items with a impactful legendary power.

    So to evaluate you have to ask yourself : “Would I use a ring with these stats and the legendary affix of the item I get to use because of the RoRG ?”

    The fact that the answer to this question is often “Yes!” just shows you weak rings are in comparison to other equipment pieces. This weakness is also the reason the RoRG is viable at all. Also the value of the RoRG increases if you it helps you complete multiple different set bonuses. In Patch 2.1.2 basically the only situation in which you would not use a RoRG is if you wanted to use a SOJ and a Unity.

    One major point we can take away from this analysis is that the viability of an option/item is highly context dependent. The SOJ would not be viable if there were 5 other rings that always gave a larger damage bonus or if there were easy ways to stack massive amounts of elemental and elite damage.

    The RoRG would be less powerful if set bonuses were not as strong as they are and the unity would be less potent if there were other efficient ways to gain large boosts to your survivability.

    Now we have identified the problem and the reason for the problem lets take a look at how Blizzard is going to try to solve the problem.

    The Solution: New Awesome Stuff

    "Ed Stark knew the mind of the Diablo Design team too well. Look where he ended up."

    “Ed Stark knew the mind of the Diablo Design team too well. Look where he ended up.”


    When discussing “solutions” to balance problems it is important to realize that there is not one correct solution. In fact there are a near infinite number of possible solutions to most “balance problems”. The task of balance is primarily to identify the viability of options. It is up to game design to decide whether there is a problem (imbalance is not always bad!) and if there is one what to change to solve it.

    A large part of the community felt that there was a problem when it came to rings and Blizzard apparently agrees because there are a bunch of new incredibly powerful rings on the way. Lets take a look!

    DiabloWikiBastions of Will
    (2) Set Bonus Has been redesigned

  • After casting a resource-generating attack or primary skill, gain 50% increased damage for 5 seconds
  • After casting a resource-spending attack, gain 50% increased damage for 5 seconds
  • This ring set used to be super rare and absolutely terrible. With this redesign it becomes a powerhouse. The different bonuses are two different buffs that are a multiplier each, effectively gving you a 125% damage bonus if you have both buffs active. If you are looking for damage look no further. This ring set beats any other combination of rings if you can make it work and some testing has shown that keeping the buffs up is relatively easy.

    DiabloWikiObsidian Ring of the Zodiac

  • Reduces the remaining cooldown of one of your skills by 1 second each time you spend resource
  • This old favorite from Diablo 1 has received a redesign. The value of the legendary affix is hard to quantify but if you look at the skills with cooldowns you will realize that those cooldowns are there for a reason. Back in Vanilla Wizards used to have a passive called Critical Mass that had a similar function and basically broke the class so Blizzard had to remove it.

    There are a ton of shenanigans you can pull off with this. Most notably and probably most problematic was permanent invulnerability. Both Monk (through Serenity) and Crusader (through Law of Hope – Stop Time) could achieve it but Blizzard hotfixed it.

    With some cooldown reduction you can permanently maintain all of the “mega transformations” (Wrath of the Berserker, Epiphany, Akarats Champion etc.) It also makes a lot of cooldown based utility Skills such as Leap, Black Hole or Provoke much better.

    Again, it is very hard to evaluate this ring because it is so dependent on the set up you are running but the potential is certainly there.

    DiabloWikiBroken Promises

  • After five consecutive non-critical hits, your chance to critically hit is increased by 100% for 3 seconds

  • On first look you might think that this is not really that exciting but you would be mistaken. Yes if you are hitting very slowly and have a which chance to critically hit it is obviously awful.

    But what if you gear in such a way that you do not get any bonuses to your critical hit chance from your gear ? You would be left with 5% critical hit chance. From there on the potential of this ring is entirely dependent on your ability to hit the enemy as often as possible.
    Lets assume you use some basic attack that only hits once per use the you would need 2.4 Attacks per second to get approximately 50% uptime (which is equivalent to 50% Critical Hit Chance). Pretty good stuff.

    But what if you you could hit 5, 10, or 20+ times per second ? You would have close to 100% uptime on the buff. That is insane! There are actually a number of ways you can achieve this. Pet builds are awesome for this. Witch Doctors, Crusaders (Bowmen) and even Barbarians (with the new Immortal King Set) can basically have permanent uptime for this ring. Then there are abilities that inherently hit at a very fast rate such Elemental Arrow – Ball Lightning, Energy Twister, Wave of Light – Pillar of the Ancients.

    Similar to the Bastion of Will Set, if you can make this work the damage boost is very potent. Additionally you free up affixes that are traditionally occupied by Critical Hit Chance (Gloves, Helmet, Bracers, Amulet, both rings).

    These three are the most notable new/redesigned rings right now but there are some other interesting additions such as the Arcstone, Oculus Ring, Skull Grasp and Little Mans Finger.

    Survivability

    So there are going to be new and exciting options for damage output but a lot of the viability of Unity stems from the fact that it is the most efficient way to gain survivability.

    The first steps to increase the amount of viable survivability options were taken with the constant buffs to healing affixes on items (Life per Second and Lifer per Hit) as well as the introduction of very powerful defensive legendary gems for Season 2. While those changes helped, ultimately Unity has remained a necessity in higher Greater Rifts.

    With Patch 2.2 there are a ton of changes on the way give players more good options to increase their ability to stay alive. The majority of the new set have a defensive or potential defensive bonus. Here are some examples:

    Wrath of the Wastes

    • (4) Set Bonus
      • While Whirlwinding you take 40% reduced damage

    Natalya’s Vengeance

    • (6) Set Bonus
      • After casting Rain of Vengenace, deal 300% increased damage and take 30% reduced damage for 5 seconds

    Zunimassa’s Haunt

    • (4) Set Bonus
      • You and your pets take 2% reduced damage for every Fetish you have alive

    Tal Rasha’s Elements

    • (4) Set Bonus
      • Attacks increase your resistance to that element by 100% for 6 seconds

    Also remember survivability is improved by everything that helps you stay alive. This includes mobility and crowd control Skills: In that sense Delsere’s Magnum Opus aka “The Slow Time” set, for instance, provides a survivability bonus because it allows you to cast slow time much more frequently.

    This sounds all nice and dandy in theory but how does it work in practice on the PTR? Well, it is hard to tell at the moment. A lot of people are experimenting and are coming up with cool new builds all the time. There will probably always be a “best option” but it looks like that “best option” will not be as obvious as it is right now.

    Well this turned out to be longer than I expected [?IMG]. I hope you enjoyed the read, didn’t find too many typos and maybe learned something along the way. Feedback of (almost) any kind is welcome. And remember: When it comes to Balance context is king.

    –LukDeRiff

    Lots to think about in that article, and I’ve been pondering the Broken Promises ring lately. As LDR said above, figure most characters have ~40% Crit Chance coming from affixes on ring, ring, amulet, gloves, helm, and offhand. If you built to use Broken Promises and had 0% CC from your gear, you’d be freeing up one affix in 6 different item slots! Imagine switching CC for other affixes on six pieces of gear? Most of us could add in a bunch of Reduced Resource Cost or CDR, more mainstat, or even defensive stats like ResAll or Vit. Even if you only broke even on the damage output, freeing up 6 primary affixes on your damage boosting gear would make it worthwhile. And of course any AoE build hitting 50x a second would keep almost 100% uptime on the 100% CC proc. Intriguing!

    You guys have any thoughts of plans on the new legendary rings, or the other item changes, such as better defensive LGems, that should open up a bit more ring variety in v2.2.0 and the future?

    Comments

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    1. For DH, that Ring is like having Sharpshooter equipped, but even better. I rolled a good hellfire (room for improvement, but still good) with Awareness on it this season. That allowed me to slot Sharpshooter.

      Broken Promises would allow me to slot a different passive and basically get the Sharpshooter effect in a better form. DHs make a ton of hits, and dropping crit off of gear for other damage enhancing stats will make DHs even stronger than they are now.

      That Focus/Restraint buff looks great also, and the Tal Rasha set rewards you big time. My personal favorite setup to use Tal's would work great with that. Lightning damage weapon (Ancient Thunderfury with a very good roll preferred) will proc the lightning meteor and give you the immunity. Magic Missile with Glacial Spike (and a +2 mirror) handles cold. Familiar with Sparkflint handles fire, and then you just use an arcane spender.

      Pair that with Bastions of Will and you have a super viable alternative to the other two Wizard sets.

      Great article LukDeRiff and frankly great job by Blizzard. D3 was a huge let down early on, but as it matures it is becoming an all time great game.

    2. Broken Promises
      After five consecutive non-critical hits, your chance to critically hit is increased by 100% for 3 seconds

      I read this as increased BY 100% not increased to 100%

      if it increases crit chance to 100% that's really fun.

      • I think if it meant your existing crit is doubled, then it would behove Blizzard simple to use the word "doubled". Because there's always confusion around +100% vs 100%.

        • If they mean increased by 100 percentage points then you would be able to get a crit of >100%

          • Any maybe you can…

          • It is increased TO 100% right now. Otherwise its powerlevel would be much lower. As I said you have to make it work by using specific skills and adjusting your gear (removing crit chance from essentially all pieces) but if you do it is super potent.

          • If you compare to judgment resolved which was nerfed from +80% to +20% it means that you add 100% to your CC. This implies 100% CC but this is the way this should be written "all hits are critical hits" (like in the first rune of vault).

    3. the bastion ring set comes with each ring being socketed. hopefully that will not change.

    4. This is super awkward since they just nerfed (slightly) both ORotZ and Bastions.

      And In-Geom. Not a ring, but relevant for builds that were looking to use it with ORotZ.

      • So ORotZ is what the whippersnappers call the venerable ObZod is it?

        Get off my lawn.

      • The changes both make sense and after some initial testing I dont think they are that impactful. The big dogs in the room that got hit by this change is the Monk with Mantra spam which is just not fun (see old spamerino Monk)

        They also remonved some sillyness for Wizards where you could use In Geom and ObZod in ocnjunction with Explosive Blast for some trickery with cooldown based builds. And Crusaders could ObZod and Condem to attain perma Akhan with the Roland Set.

        The new version works fine with whirlwind, you just have to hit stuff which you are doing anyways. I ran a quick 43 with my Barb and while I had to manage my cooldowns more carefully I could maintain perma WotB, perma Ignore Pain and still use War Cry.

    5. Well, so much for Zodiac (uber nerfed). What made it amazing was the ability to channel cool down reduction. Hopefully someone can still find a niche build with it…

      Natalya's is also much weaker now.

      IK was hit with a nerf anvil.

      • The nerf to the ObZod is much more subtle that it looks like on firs glance. It still works with channeling skills. Not sure how it works exactly but as long as you are hitting stuff you basically have the same effect as before. Tested it with my WW Barb and it worked just fine.

    6. yes, that sounds good and I hope it works. Combining that ring with Roland's….woohoo, gets me excited about the long awaited close combat crusader!

      • I have toyed around with the broken promises a bit on the crusader and while the Roland Set itself is quite decent if you just use Shield Bash/Sweep attack it is not super duper awesome.

        It becomes awesome if you use Bowmen though. I love that Skill and it basically keeps you crit chance at 100% all the time

    7. I like how half these items were nerfed right around the time this article was written (a few were nerfed before, aka Focus/Restraint).

      Choices are confusing!

    8. Broken Promise was extremely strong during the first 2.2 PTR patch.
      Since then, it was ninja nerfed and you can go on for a long time without it procing even with just 5% base crit chance and constant non crits. It is essentially a 'broken promise'.

      Focus & Restraint is still extremely strong , as is the obsidian ring.

    9. Did I call it or did i call it? Check past threads comments by me … it's the clear and obvious choice. Now, we can remove all CC from gear and replace it with a Defensive modifier. BAM They did it.

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