Wyatt Cheng has posted a developer update specifically looking at the Wrath of the Wastes set and discusses why there as been few changes to Wrath of the Wastes in recent updates.
This is the first entry in what they are calling the Developer Chronicles. Read on for the full update.
There’s a lot going on here. Before we get started, the most important takeaway is that we want to make sure a Whirlwind-based playstyle has a place in Diablo III. Therefore, providing ways to make Wrath of the Wastes a reasonable choice as compared to other Barbarian sets is definitely on our list.
The last few patch cycles haven’t seen a lot of changes for Wrath of the Wastes for two reasons:
We are trying to cut down on the number of changes we make to live items. It’s been a longstanding policy that we avoid making changes to Legendary items. Set items tend to be the exception. Our typical approach would be to buff Wrath of the Wastes and Whirlwind by adding new Legendary effects to the game. However, there are a lot of interactions that happen between Wrath of the Wastes and the other Barbarian class sets, particularly Raekor and Immortal King’s. Many of these sets get combined, so in order to prop up Wastes specifically, we have to do so in a way that doesn’t necessarily further buff the other class sets. Otherwise, the gap doesn’t really change. We have some other ideas on this front that we are also exploring.
Straight talk: Whirlwind causes performance issues. Many of you may remember performance issues during Patch 2.1.0 and 2.2.0. We have been (and will continue to be) making performance optimizations with each patch. However, our initial investigations identified Whirlwind as one of the skills that caused heavy strain on our servers. The more people using Whirlwind, the more it exacerbates the issue. This means we don’t necessarily want everyone using Whirlwind—at least, not until more server optimizations have been made.
Aside from this, it’s unrealistic to expect that all 24 class sets (plus Legacy of Nightmare and its boundless combinations) are going to be balanced 100% equally across the board. There is often a “best” build for each purpose, whether that’s for Nephalem Rifts, group play, or solo Greater Rift pushing. Generally, the goal is to get a variety of builds close enough that playstyle preferences or gearing differences allow some choice and variety.
In the case of the Barbarian, it makes sense that Wrath of the Wastes will always be a favorite when it comes to chilling out and farming Rifts. But it may not be the best choice for pushing your solo Greater Rift. We’re okay with some sets serving specific purposes and the Whirlwind playstyle has a special place in our collective Barbarian hearts, so we hope to see some changes to support the playstyle in a future patch.