Those of you still playing Diablo 3 have by now no doubt heard about Blizzards previews for changes to the various classes in the upcoming 1.0.4 patch. If somehow you haven’t noticed Blizzard’s flurry of blog posts on the upcoming changes here are links to all of them:
More after the jump…
With that out of the way, what I really wanted to discuss is the incredible hypocrisy of the Diablo development team at Blizzard exerting themselves in repeatedly insisting that their intention is to now promote build diversity by buffing under-used abilities to make them competitive with already popular choices, and then turning around and absolutely hammering one of the most popular, and in my opinion by far the most fun, Wizard build.
Lets take a moment to see what the Diablo development team themselves have had to say about their new approach to promoting build diversity (all bold for emphasis mine):
“We’re making a metric-ton of changes to classes, so we’re going to have separate blog posts for each. But in general we’re looking at unpopular skills and asking ourselves a few questions […] Does the skill fill a similar role as an extremely popular skill? If so, buff the skill to be competitive with the popular skill. […] Does a skill have a dominant rune? If so, can we buff the underused runes to be more competitive? […]” From the 1.0.4 Systems Preview.
“One of our primary goals with class changes in patch 1.0.4 is to help improve build diversity. Of course, this has been a goal for the Diablo III development team since launch, but our approach this patch has been a little different. For 1.0.4, we’re taking a good look at some of the most unpopular skills for each class, figuring out why they aren’t being used in your builds, and then seeing how we can make them better — either by redesigning how they work or just buffing the hell out of them. […] I’ll close by adding that there are no changes planned for either Sprint or Battle Rage, so all you crazy double tornado barbarians will still be able to log in after 1.0.4 goes live and continue with your current build. Or, you can try out some of the new toys we’re adding. Either way, we hope you have fun and are looking forward to 1.0.4!” From the 1.0.4 Barbarian Preview.
“In terms of passives, it’s pretty clear at this point that One With Everything is considered a mandatory passive for all monks. While “mandatory” passives aren’t great, making any major change would do more harm than good, particularly when a) incoming damage is so high and b) monks need the extra durability in order to survive. Additionally, as a result of this passive, monks are more heavily tied to their current gear, so making changes to One With Everything would have very noticeable negative repercussions to the gear monks have invested in. While we’d prefer that there wasn’t an “absolutely mandatory” passive, we’re going to let this one ride for now. If we do try to make changes we’ll ideally do it in a way that doesn’t invalidate the passive, doesn’t hurt monk survivability, and doesn’t undermine the gear people are currently wearing.” From the 1.0.4 Monk Preview.
So, in light of these posts, and posts on the forums where the Diablo development team has repeatedly asserted that their intention is to now promote build diversity by buffing under used abilities rather than by nerfing popular skills, what do you think their approach was to the popularity of the Critical Mass/Wicked Wind (a.k.a. Wind-Up Wizard) build?
If you guessed ‘Nerf the Fuck out of it!‘, you get a cookie:
“In the case of Energy Twister, specifically Wicked Wind, the 0.25 proc coefficient causes the skill to generate more procs in a given time period than any other skill. Currently, this is used in combination with Critical Mass to lower the cooldown on skills like Frost Nova and Diamond Skin. By reducing the proc coefficient from 0.25 to 0.125, the build still works and remains fairly strong, but it won’t be quite as good as it is now. (For those with extremely high Crit rates, you may not even notice much difference, but I wanted to call it out anyway.)”
That’s right folks, they intend to cut the proc coefficient for Wicked Wind (which affect how often it procs Critical Hits, Life on Hit, AP on Crit, Critical Mass) in half. This means that a typical CM/WW build will require double the crit chance, LOH, and AP on Crit to remain as effective as it is now.
It also means that for the large number of players who were having massive amounts of fun with a Wizard and therefore invested a great deal of gold (and perhaps even real money) into gear meant to support this skill apparently don’t get the same consideration that Barbarians and Monks do. Apparently the gold we’ve invested into our gear sets isn’t worthy of consideration the way Monk players is. Apparently double tornado Barbs that face-roll Inferno A3/4 with much lower gear investments than CM/WW Wizards are totally fine, but CM/WW Wizards are not an acceptable play-style.
Perhaps the explanation here lies in the only major skill buff explained at any length being that of Hydra’s runes:
“From a development standpoint, we love Hydra and put a lot of effort into its design. In fact, Hydra took many times more development time to create than an average skill. There are more art variants, more spell effects, and more lines of code associated with Hydra than almost any other wizard skill in the game (except potentially Archon). We did this because Hydra is an iconic skill in the wizard’s arsenal and we wanted it to stand out.”
A cynical man might suggest that the development team’s obsession with Hydra’s might explain why the only nerf to any class in 1.0.4 is directed at destroying a play style where you got to play the goddamn game and fight the monsters yourself instead of casting one of them pretty turrets and running away like a bitch?
That’s Yo “Welp, guess it’s time to uninstall D3” Garbage!