During the last week of the Reaper of Souls beta test, the game's developers joined fans in several live stream play sessions. I took part in one with DH/Barb dev John Yang, which yielded excellent info about a variety of topics. It also yielded an opportunity to eyeball the gear on his character, and all the other characters on the account, via the Inspect feature.
[caption id="attachment_375484" align="alignright" width="300"] The STREAM account.[/caption]The devs weren't playing on their private accounts for the fan play sessions; they had a special account (called STREAM, with no battletag) created on the RoS beta server, which was stocked with five lvl 70 characters, all of them well kitted out in gear generated just for these play sessions. The gear had to be good, since the devs were answering questions the whole time they played and didn't want to die like a noob through inattention to the action.
So what gear did they pick? A few rares, a few uber Legendaries, and lots of special new RoS-only Item Sets. The gear isn't especially optimized; hardly any of it has been enchanted and it's all kind of a grab bag of awesome parts that don't quite fit together. Even so, these special characters had higher DPS than almost any player characters in the beta, thanks to their full sets of ultra rare drops.
I looked over the gear on the Demon Hunter that John Yang played in the game with me, then after our session I got nosy and poked through all the gear on all the other characters on the STREAM account, and took screenshots of all their build and general info screens, plus individual screens of all the items they had equipped.
The stats on gear from the Reaper of Souls beta test was hard for many fans to quantify, since it had such bigger numbers but came out of context. Now that most of you guys have spent some quality hours with Loot 2.0 in the Diablo 3 v2.0.1 patch, perhaps you'll be better able to get a handle on these l3wtz.
Let's start with the new guy; here's the Crusader's build and his full gear.
The Crusader's gear is amazing. The full six pieces of the Crusader's Armor of Akkhan set would take you months to farm up in Torment, and that total set bonus allows the Crusader almost full time use of the Akarat's Champion skill. The two-ring set Bastions of Will are amazing in the quality of the roll on each item, putting to shame the parade of crappy green jewelry I've found so far in the Beta. That said, the most fun items are definitely the legendary weapon and shield. You can hear Crusader fans Neinball and HolyKnight exulting over them on a recent podcast, and here's what the items do.
- Gyrfalcon's Foote -- Legendary Flail, Removes the resource cost of Blessed Shield.
- Jekangbord -- Legendary Crusader Shield. "Blessed Shield ricochets to 5 additional enemies.)
Blessed Shield is basically Throw Shield, like the Barbarian's Throw Weapon, where a virtual shield is hurled, Captain America style, to bounce between up to 4 targets. It's a very popular skill, but it normally costs 20 Wrath, allowing just 5 very fast throws before emptying the full bulb. Thus this Legendary Flail is the definition of "build changing" as it entirely removes the resource cost. The Shield adds to the theme, doubling the number of targets it can pinball between.
If you're a Crusader, you want them. You want them both.
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Click through for the full kit of the Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, and Wizard.
The Barbarian sports three items of the new Torment level Barb set, the Might of the Earth. That set has an Earthquake theme, the new level 61+ Barbarian skill, which is paired with other pieces of gear.
Might of the Earth item set:
- Two items: Reduce the cooldown of Earthquake by 2 seconds every time it kills an enemy.
- Four items: Cause an Earthquake when you land after using Leap.
The Barb is only wearing three of the items, but he's got the very handy Ring of Royal Grandeur, which reduces by one the number of set items required to trigger a partial set bonus. (Minimum one item.) Thus three items of this set gets the bonus granted by four. The boots follow the theme. Lut Socks, which for the Barb grant the option to cast Leap again within 2 seconds, before the cooldown begins. Sadly, that's it for that Leap/Earthquake theme.
The rest of the Barb's items are kind of a grab bag, with misc Legendaries, two pieces of the Loot 2.0 upgraded Immortal King's set (which in this case is enough to qualify for the three item partial set bonus), and curiously, a shield instead of a second weapon. (All the better to stay alive while answering questions rather than concentrating on playing.)
Note a big bonus to non-paper DPS with three items each granting 20% damage bonus to Fire Skills. Stacking up those sorts of bonuses can make a huge difference in Reaper of Souls, if you pair them with the correct skills. Most skills now have a runes that vary the base skill's damage type, so this sort of mixing and matching is very possible and will yield big bonuses to players min/maxing enough to activate it.
Note that the displayed "paper" DPS can be quite inaccurate as a measure of character potential in RoS. Bonuses to elemental type skills (10-20%), and to individual skills (10-15%) are *not* included in the Character's displayed DPS. But as you see with this Barb, players can add 40 or 60% or more damage to to one type of elemental skills, and add up to 15% bonus to individual skills via other item bonuses. It wouldn't be hard to construct a character that had +100% or more damage to one single skill, which would double your entire listed DPS with that attack.)
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The Demon Hunter's best item is the weapon, a sure build-changer which (conveniently for this article) is the same bow my Beta DH used for the last few days of the test. It's the Krindershot, a Legendary Bow that changes Elemental Arrow from a Hatred spender to a 4 Hatred generator. This is a huge benefit which greatly alters how the character plays, and it's not just "Ball Lightning does more damage than Hungering Arrow" in the trade off.
[caption id="attachment_375513" align="alignright" width="300"] Demon Hunter profile.[/caption]I talked about it on the new Podcast so I won't repeat it all here, but after I started using this bow I had 1) much higher effective damage (though it lowered my paper DPS from 1500k to around 1320k), and 2) more Hatred than I knew what to do with. (Since Elemental Arrow was so much more effective than any of the regular Hatred Generators that I could use it more and rely less on Hatred-hungry Rapid Fire.)
As I got used to the way Krindershot changed my play experience, I enchanted the +Hatred Regen on my Quiver and Cloak into bonuses to individual skills, I switched 30 Core Tab Paragon Points from +max Hatred to +Dex, I switched the Blood Vengeance passive to Steady Aim to boost my damage from a distance, and more.
The other build-changers on this dev Demon Hunter come from the Bombadier's Rucksack legendary quiver which enables 2 additional Sentries, and the full six items of the new DH-only Embodiment of the Marauder item set. It's got two awesome bonuses; 4 items enables all 4 Companions to be summoned at once (presumably you'd summon one via the skill and the other 3 would appear for free), and all 6 items in the set enable your Sentries to use your equipped Hatred spenders. So rather than pinging away with their usual weaksauce 200% weapon damage bolts, the Sentries (all 4 of them) would blast off whichever Hatred Spenders the Demon Hunter had on her belt, including mega skills like Rapid Fire, Elemental Arrow, Chakram, etc.
I've never been much of a fan of Sentry, but I'd make space for it in my build with that kind of incentive. (You'd probably tweak your whole build to match that, relying much more on your sentries for damage. After all, you'd be doubling the number of Sentries and the skills they could use would more than double their damage, giving you at least a 4x increase in Sentry effectiveness. You'd probably also want to pick Hatred spenders that worked well when the Sentries fired them, whatever that meant in practice. Probably skills that didn't require a lot of accuracy to be effective, so maybe AoE stuff like Elemental Arrow? It would certainly be fun to experiment and figure out what works best.)
The rest of the DH's items are grab bag and not real impressive. Check out those two mediocre rare rings! Those would be a considerable downgrade for any of my characters in the Beta, and likely they were just quick-gambled by the dev in order to have something to put on the DH's fingers, rather than generated via some test-realm dev tool, the way the rest of the gear was created on these characters.
Here's the full array of gear in gallery form.
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There was no Monk on the account when I had my play session, and I checked back on Monday just before the Beta ended, and there still wasn't. Apparently there were five play sessions, for which five characters were created, and the Monk wasn't one of them.
Clearly this is proof that Blizzard hates
The Witch Doctor has a grab bag of misc Legendaries, with an shout out to the D3 Auction House via the huge roll on that Witching Hour belt. A couple of items from Zunimassa's Haunt can be seen as well, granting nothing different than it does in Diablo 3, except numbers. (The full set bonus property does add something special, with an eternal but mortal Fetish Army, but this char is not wearing enough of the set to enable that. It would work very well with the various other Fetish-boosting talents he's got, though.)
The first interesting WD bonus is on the gloves, as Tasker and Theo add 46% to Pet attack speed. This is not a WD-specific bonus, but the WD has the most pets to potentially benefit from it.
The pets will add up nicely thanks to the weapon, a Gidbinn that now has a chance to summon a Fetish with each attack. (Surprisingly low damage on the weapon; 2400 was generally "good" damage for a 1H weapon during the later stages of the beta.) The Carnevil helm (that is not a spelling typo) weaponizes those fetishes, enabling summoned Fetishes to fire a Poison Dart any time the WD does, which turns them into a sort of mobile turret.
One item from a new, Torment-only WD set is also present, but just the Jade Harvester's shoulders, which don't do anything special in of themselves. The full set, all six items, grants an interesting property.
Raiment of the Jade Harvester:
- 6 item bonus -- Soul Harvest consumes your damage over time effects on enemies, instantly dealing their remaining damage.
I had to read that a couple of times to make sense of it, but it sounds like every kind of Damage Over Time effect that is already in effect on enemies gets counted off instantly when that monster it hit by Soul Harvest. So if you had something big, like 1500% over 6 seconds, it would all go bang, the full 1500% (or however much was left) all at once. That would incentivize some play variety, since most players avoid DoT effects and prefer damage that counts all at once. As a result the devs keep adding bigger numbers to anything that works over time, and most classes have some "2200% over 7 seconds" type attacks. Now imagine being able to hit with that and then trigger it to execute instantly?
Note that there's another whole new 6 item WD set, Helltooth's Harness, that's not represented here at all. (It's mostly got bonuses themed to Zombie Wall, a skill that's pretty much ignored now, so anything to make it viable would be build-changing indeed.)
Here's the WD's full kit, in gallery form:
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The Wizard has the highest listed "paper" DPS of any of these characters, though that's not a surprise given how many +damage passives and buff skills that class possesses. (That and 9700 Intelligence is how you get 898k paper DPS. That's the value on the "inspect" screen, and is considerably lower than what you see in the game in the Character window. For comparison, my Beta DH's highest DPS in the Inspect screen was around 840k, and that was around 1550k DPS listed in game. Both those numbers decreased about 10% when I switched to the Krindershot, even though my actual killing speed was much improved.)
The huge DPS does not stem largely from the weapon, which carries a modest 2272.2 DPS. (For comparison, my DH used a 1H xbow with 2870 DPS at her highest damage figure, and I found a different 1H xbow with 2960 DPS the last day of the beta.) It's also a sword, not a wand, and does not have the much sought APoC bonus. It's Thunderfurry, I mean Thunderfury, which is apparently a WoW-inspired item, and has an interesting legendary property of a sort of chain lightning debuff.
The real meat of the build comes from two partial set bonuses, which are largely enabled by the Ring of Royal Grandeur, which is probably destined to become the most sought after item in Reaper of Souls, for its "+1 to set item count" legendary property. It turns the Wizard's three Tal Rasha's items into the big four item set bonus, and would do the same for the Torment-only Wizard set, Firebird's Finery... except that the Wiz is wearing 2 of 6 items in the set, and the partial bonuses come at 2, 4, and 6 items.
(This is a good time to remember that while these dev geared characters have some interesting stuff going on, they exhibit a lot of signs of being thrown together fairly quickly, and none of them are optimized or lovingly crafted to the extent that players will lavish on their own, full-time creations.)
The set bonuses are tasty, too.
Tal Rasha's Elements:
- 4 item bonus -- Damaging enemies with Arcane, Cold, Fire, or Lightning will cause a Meteor of the same damage type to fall from the sky. There is an 8 second cooldown for each damage type.
- 4 item bonus -- When you die, a meteor falls from the sky and revives you. This effect has a 300 second cooldown.
- 6 item bonus -- Enemies killed by Fire damage explode and set nearby enemies on Fire, dealing 300% weapon damage over 5 seconds.
I can't imagine that Tal Rasha's 4 item bonus is that big a deal, if it only happens every 8 seconds. But if you had 3 or 4 elemental types, presumably including one on your weapon, it could be a pretty consistent boost. Odd it doesn't say the damage of the meteor, but presumably the set is still under development. (Most of the other item bonuses are, as John Yang made very clear during our live stream play session.)
The Firebird's Finery bonus for 4 items is obviously of most interest to Hardcore players, but given the exp value of Pools of Reflection, not dying is more important than previously even for softcore Wizards. That 6 item bonus looks a bit janky too. DoT adds up and all, but 300% over 5 seconds is just 60% per second and any Wizard is constantly churning out multiple effects dealing way more damage than that.
Here's the Wizard's full kit.
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What do you guys think of the higher level gear shown on these chars? The legendaries are pretty good and often great with their rolls, but it's the full suits of ultra-rare Set Items that most impressed me. Of course these were just generated by a dev code on the test realm, not actually farmed up in the game, but I'm still impressed. Or at least jelly. I found one or two items from several of these sets during my Beta play time, and saw a few others found in the Clan chat, but it's the partial and full bonuses these guys are showing that make me hungry.
How rare are these high end, Torment-only sets? For the sake of comparison, during the last month of the beta after the drop rates were buffed, my DH found 8 or 10 items from the Natalya's set, 2 from the 4-item, higher level DH set The Shadow's Mantle, and zero from the highest level and rarest Marauder's Set. And the DH here has the entire set of 6 equipped. don't take my example to mean that you'll find 60 or 80 items from Natalya's set before you find 6 from the Marauder's, but Legendaries and Sets are weighted quite a bit in drop rates, and the higher level sets with bigger bonuses are much less often found, even on Torment.)
Tracking down all these big Legendaries, much less multiple items in the higher level sets is going to be a challenge, much less getting them all with good rolls, but isn't efforts at item improvement pretty much what keeps people playing a Diablo game long term?
Continue reading the Original Blog Post.