Blizzcon 2014 just came to a close and I’m sitting on my flight reflecting on our class and what is coming for us. Diablo news ran a little light this year, but what was clear was that the developers are hard at work on something. We were, however, able to get our hands on some of the new item sets and affixes that seem to be on the way and play around with them a bit. In case you missed it:
New Wizard Set:Delsere’s Magnum Opus
New Wizard Legendary helm: Crown of the Primus with the affix “Slow Time gains the effect of every rune.”
New Wizard Legendary bracers: Ranslor’s Folly with the affix “Energy Twister periodically pulls in an enemy within 30 yards. An Enemy can only be pulled in this way once every 5 seconds.”
I must preface everything I say here with a gigantic asterisk as the playable demo on the show floor was a non-random, new tile set of Sescheron, and set a the (very easy) Greater Rift level 15. Meanwhile, our gear had our DPS at 883k and toughness upwards of 16 million. Thus, everything melted and literally nothing threatened your survivability. That said, the new affixes were interesting enough to draw out some speculation and bring some interesting questions to the table.
The two-piece set bonus is nothing new or groundbreaking, and yet brought about some interesting gameplay mechanics. In the demo we were equipped with the Gesture of Orpheus. Pairing this with the new set bonus made Slow Time borderline spammable. More importantly, it allowed me to build crescent-shaped barriers by placing multiple bubbles. This at high greater rifts would be very useful for avoiding that hard hitting missile damage. Moon Clan Impalers just got less scary. Actively casting these spells not only creates bursts of damage or crowd control, but also greatly increases survivability in a more interesting way that flat mitigation.
The four-piece bonus is where the gears really started turning. With the gearset we had equipped, I was seeing dot ticks of 130+ million on elites, comparable to my current competitive set in seasonal play now. The important thing to note is that there is no ramp up time, as is the case with this Firebird’s Finery. As soon as the the slow time debuff is applied, the mobs melt and numbers fly. While the damage is definitely comparable to the cookie cutter builds at the moment it comes in the form of a spammable crowd control, which is the one huge thing Firebird’s lacks. Control.
Crowd controlling mobs inside the bubble makes the damage output even more ridiculous. Casting Glacial Spike on an enemy within the debuff does initial damage while also stopping the mob in their tracks. This allows for a few more seconds of the DOT tick, and at 1250% damage per second, Glacial Spike and other stun locking spells become far more useful at the higher levels of gameplay. It is also important to mention that while the bonus says “affected by Slow Time,” it seemed that as long as the debuff was applied to the mob the damage was present, both inside AND outside of the bubble. This mean that with the new Crown of the Primus or Point of No Return rune selected you have effectively 3750% damage over 3 seconds (or 1250% damage per second) even after they attempt to escape the bubble, coming in the form of a stun from the rune effect by keeping them in the spell animation.
If that wasn’t enough awesome, the six-piece bonus increases the damage of those spells outright. And as above, the damage increase seemed to apply to mobs on their way inside and outside of the bubble as long as they were caught in the stun. While I’m sure there will be plenty of tweaking and testing, the damage and synergies of this set were outstanding. You were seeing great, sustainable damage numbers coming from spells like Glacial Spike and Frozen Orb. I can only imagine what Energy Twister and Shock Pulse will feel like with these set pieces and debuffs applied. Unfortunately, they were not a part of the playable demo on the show floor.
As I stated at the top of the post, it was hard to get a gauge on how powerful this set truly feels considering how much you outgeared the playable content. But numbers don’t lie. I’m trying to imagine what kind of damage we will be seeing with a well rolled Sun Keeper as opposed to the Gesture of Orpheus. Or to imagine how amazing it will feel to drop Energy Twister while equipped with the new Ranslor’s Folly in the middle of a Slow Time cast, pulling the screen in for an instant apply dot, while getting massive crits with your tornado and let’s say… Frozen Orb. What this set does, it seems, is give us some more viable options and a very different playstyle that I think will be very powerful even at high levels of play. A playstyle that is more casting-active than the Blizzard/Hydra/RUN!!!! builds most of us are using currently. And one that feels much more busy and mage-like. I had and absolute blast playing this in Anaheim and I’m looking forward to it going up on the PTR so I can get my hands on it again. Have no fear Frozen Orb fan-boys and fan-girls, Ice is back with a brand new invention.
…Yes, that is a Vanilla Ice Joke.Related to this article