Content of this article:
Disclaimer: All Information presented here is still subject to change during and after the PTR! We will keep this post updated as things change!
The first weekend of PTR just concluded and the whole Maxroll Content Creator team theorycrafted, tested and streamed tons of new builds and mechanics. In this post we will provide an overview of what we learned so far. Enjoy!
Here are a few facts about Followers we know so far (a complete in-depth post will follow after PTR):
- They revive 20 seconds after dying
- Only the Critical Hit Chance Aura from the Scoundrel remains active while it's dead
- Emanates snapshot on Pylon click (The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers)
- Emanates are not shared in groups
Main Stat Breakpoints
- Base 2.5 multiplier for all stat bonuses (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Vitality)
- 25,000 for highest breakpoint on new skills
- Cooldown Reduction doesn't work on Follower skills except the Templar's Heal where Born’s Command & Captain Crimson's Trimmings both work
- Cooldown Reduction from Follower-specific tokens work for all active skills, but not for their cheat-death procs
- Cooldown of cheat-death procs reset when you die
- Legendary Gems Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation guard work
- Captain Crimson's Trimmings (3) Bonus, Aquila Cuirass, Stone Gauntlets, Legacy of nightmares & Legacy of Dreams don't work
- Even with all toughness buffs in the game the Follower simply cannot survive in Greater Rift solo pushes, but you can make the Follower survive in mid tier speeds runs and use the different follower relics such as Hand of the Prophet
- Legendary gem multipliers like Bane of the Trapped, Legacy of Dreams etc. don't work
- Followers never deal any significant damage
Other Item effects
- Ring of royal grandeur works on Followers
- The Executioner doesn't work on Followers
- Ahavarion, Spear of Lycander only works if the Follower gets the kill, rendering it fairly useless
- Strongarm bracers work on Followers! Windforce and The Ess of Johan are easy ways to proc them
- Cord of the Sherma works on Followers and is an easy way to proc Krysbin's Sentence for Necromancers
- Leoric's Crown works on Followers
- All X% skills are additive debuffs (e.g. Erosion)
- The Scoundrel's CC cloud is considered a debuff on monsters
Asheara's Vestments Group Buffs
- All debuffs are additive and stack additively with themselves (max +30% with all 3 Followers) and also work for party members
- Does not stack with each other if multiple party members use Asheara's Vestments
- Scoundrel's new Crit debuff Night's Veil works for party members. That is especially useful for the Rift Guardian
Follower Builds and Personal Opinion
- Overall it's great to see some updates to a lacking system, especially one that buffs solo play more than groups! There are also some disappointing findings we found as the hype doesn't hold up against reality and we will mostly be running with cookie-cutter follower builds just like before. Also, certain bugs remain that should be addressed:
- It's nice for T16. You can play any build now at the same efficiency, that's great.
- Free Nemesis will be fun to have in every speed build and make pushing a bit more interesting.
- Flavor is just straight up power creep that will make pushing even more fishy because every single build relies on a good conduit now.
- Most items don't work on followers: Stone Gauntlets, Aquila Cuirass, Captain Crimson's Trimmings (3) Bonus, so there is no way to make them survive anything in high GRs without immortality relics.
- LoD/LoN are not working, so we can't even make meme T16 follower builds because they will never deal any damage.
- The potential choices in each equipment slot are minimal since we barely have enough legendaries with special effects on them.
- Follower detail sheet is lacking important stats like RCR & CDR.
- The emanate list is too short. It would be amazing to have more options for build customization similar to what the 4th cube slot offered using forgotten items that don't fit into a regular build. Examples: The Butcher's Sickle, Immunity Amulets like Countess Julia's Cameo, Fire Walkers, Warzechian Armguards and more like these.
- Follower cheat death abilities have no UI indicator for their duration or cooldown. You have no clue when you are allowed to die again safely.
- Overall: Followers need more buffs. Solo is still far behind groups, so buffing solo players by another few tiers through followers would be great to close the gap. Aside from more items, it would be amazing to make all legendary gems work on followers, not just Mutilation Guard & Esoteric Alteration.
Regarding the different Follower builds:
- These are our first drafts for how to build them. In general the item rolls don't matter much as long as you stack the right main stat(s) up to 25,000 and potentially some Attack Speed for procs or Cooldown Reduction for spells.
- A few key items should always be included: Oculus Ring, The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers unless you have an important reason not to.
- Relics other than immortality are possible to use, but only after you heavily optimized your follower (potentially with Augments) and only for speedfarming content.
- Homing Pads should always be included because there is no other item in this slot and they can be very handy for farming. In addition they can actually be used as a defense tool in Greater Rifts for certain builds that have long downtimes or when you get immobilized.
New Solo Build: Rathma Army of the Dead
Army of the Dead is a heavy AoE-skill that has always been a part of the old Bones of Rathma, but never really been useful enough to be considered a viable DPS ability. The reworked version allows you to reset its cooldown much faster (in a matter of 1-3 seconds with enough minions out) and combined with Fate's Vow the damage is miraculous.
The basic idea is to get many minions out through Command Skeletons , Revive and Skeletal Mage to boost your damage and cooldown resets, then spam Army of the Dead as much as possible. Some variations use Poison with Nayr's Black Death, which is rather hectic to play as you have to keep several buffs active for it. The Physical variations are much more relaxed but have lower top-end performance. Regardless, both have their use.
Currently, this build used Rathma's Shield for permanent invincibility and thus is currently overperforming. We believe that this interaction will get fixed in some way, which would bring the setup down by anywhere between 5-10 Tiers and make it strong but not overpowered compared to other top builds.
New Build: Rathma Bone Spirit
Bone Spirit is a long forgotten skill that has been revived with the new patch deployed on the PTR. The reworked Bones of Rathma set allows you to use your summons to boost its damage. Along with this, Defiler Cuisses and the new Bonds of C'Lena bracers provide some massive damage bonuses to go with it. The goal is to have a long travel time for your spirits and have them hit the target during your Convention of Elements cycle with all buffs/debuffs active. This build is mostly useful as a Rift Guardian Killer in groups, but there are some possible solo variations that play unlike anything else in the game.
To optimize the damage done, you need to get some practice and understanding of the Bone Spirit's behavior. You can either target an enemy directly to lock on it or just cast out in the open so that they will home in on whatever they will find. Once they lock on a target, they will speed up their movement by 85%, so it's typically better to use their slower form as much as possible to boost the Defiler Cuisses effect.
Although the amount of setup and precision required means this build is not for everyone, it's a really fun new way to play and can produce hilarious results either when done correctly or failing miserably. As an endgame RGK you will probably seek other choices for consistency in farming, but for pushing this could be the way to go to almost guarantee (depending on your crit chance :D) fast boss kills.
New Solo Build: Tal Rasha + Firebird
The following setup is currently super overpowered due to the Tal Rasha's Elements (6) Bonus and Firebird's Finery (4) Bonus combination. This is most likely an oversight and will almost guaranteed change in the next PTR version!
In this high Greater Rift focused solo setup we plan to use Tal Rasha's Elements (6) Bonus to benefit from 2 generic separate damage multipliers and get Area Damage to work with Arcane Orb Frozen Orb. Arcane Orb has a bunch of additional damage multipliers and does not rely on channeling Deathwish buffs anymore to deal damage. The Shame of Delsere allows us to stack Bane of the Stricken faster to kill the Rift Guardian as well as generating Arcane Power back pretty quickly.
Keep up Storm Armor for Toughness, ignite enemies and start stacking a few Combustion stacks by channeling Disintegrate. Proceed by getting Triumvirate buffs by casting Shock Pulse. Group up enemies, further buff your damage with Blackhole and Teleport around 40 yards away from the pull to optimize Zei's Stone of Vengeance and Frozen Orb damage. Shot Arcane Orb Frozen Orb timed with Cold Convention of Elements rotation and move on by using Teleport.
There are many passives to choose from. Blur, Cold Blooded and even Unwavering Will can be played as alternatives.
New Solo Build: Firebird
The reworked Firebird's Finery focuses on igniting enemies with Disintegrate and stacking up a buff called Combustion, which effectively works as a damage multiplier for the set. You gain Combustion at a rate of 10/sec while channeling and lose it at a rate of 4/sec otherwise, with a maximum of 50. The big damage comes from hitting an ignited target either while channeling (Explosive Blast Chain Reaction, Familar Sparkflint) or through switching to Arcane Torrent Flame Ward (or a combination of these) to keep up the Deathwish effect. Each hit will deal a massive burst of damage on the target.
Channel Disintegrate and make sure to hit every enemy at least once, then Teleport around while weaving in more Disintegrate to keep your mobility high. Explosive Blast should be used on cooldown for extra procs and Orb of Infinite Depth uptime. You generally want to play around Convention of Elements and keep your Combustion stacks close to 50 especially before the Fire cycle. For the nuke, switch to Arcane Torrent to burn down your foes!
It's a great new take on a build that has seen a lot of reworks that never felt right already. The balance seems fine, although it would be great for quality of life and fun factor to reduce the Combustion loss a little bit, perhaps by giving it a 1 second grace period before it starts dropping. This way, the build could really feel much more fluid to play because it would allow chaining a few Teleports in a row without having to channel in between every one of them. Check out Rob's GR140 Solo clear.
Gears of Dreadlands nerf and New Solo Build: UE Hungering Arrow
The Gears of Dreadlands set received a harsh nerf: Hungering Arrow can only pierce 2 enemies while you have any set bonus active (2-piece is enough). The immediate consequence of that is the Shatter Shot rune becomes stronger than Devouring Arrow we used previously. Shatter Shot produces 3 arrows hitting 3 enemies which is 9 times the base damage, while Devouring Arrow only has one arrow which deals 100%, 170% and 240% for a total of 5.1 times the base damage. On top of that Shatter Shot is currently bugged and the extra arrows it produces are not affected by the nerf: they can still pierce infinite number of targets.
Overall the nerf doesn't affect speedfarming, especially in Torment 16, all that much. You will maybe notice slight lack of damage early season and will have to keep using Bastions of Will a bit longer. But GoD DH will still be the best DH build for Nephalem Rifts and second best for Bounties. In XP speedfarming the nerf is more noticeable but still not overwhelming. GoD will stay the strongest XP option for solo DH (although Impale is now closer). Now where the nerf is really noticeable is pushing. There the power of the set goes way down, the current PTR version of GoD (with bugged Shatter Shot) is about 10 tiers weaker than Live, if the bug is fixed it will go another 10-15 tiers down.
The GoD nerf lets another build rise from its shadow. While not exactly new (we already have a guide for it), UE Hungering Arrow DH was never really played, because GoD was slightly stronger and way easier to play. UE Hungering Arrow plays very similarly to UE Multishot in pushing (it even has Multishot equipped to proc Bastions of Will bonus). It's also similar in toughness, aka not at all! About 5 hits from regular mobs will be enough to send you 6 feet under and only your own footwork and smart usage of Vault and Smoke Screen can save you from that fate. In terms of raw power though, UE Hungering Arrow is almost the same as unnerfed GoD and with the access to full power of Devouring Arrow (including Missile Dampening interaction) it will surely be able to clear GR 150 in the hands of skilled player.
New Group META
The following setup is currently extremely overpowered due to the Tal Rasha's Elements (6) Bonus and Firebird's Finery (4) Bonus combination. This is most likely an oversight and will be changed in the next PTR version!
Ready to do 4 Player 150s in under 3 minutes? The new Wizard discussed above will carry us to victory (until Blizzard gives it the ultimate nerf!) With the power to clear the trash and vaporize the guardian all on it's own, we'll bring 3 supports to ramp up their damage as much as possible!
This is the standard zBarb we've come to know and love. On the defensive side it provides War Cry and Ignore Pain, while giving damage buffs from Threatening Shout Falter, Gem of Efficacious Toxin and Strongarm Bracers. This role pulls all the monsters together with Ancient Spear and Ground Stomp them together for the Wizard to detonate.
Support Demon Hunter
Our beloved zDH also has a spot in this meta. It provides insane damage buffs from Odyssey's End, Strongarm Bracers, Companion Wolf Companion, Marked for Death, Gem of Efficacious Toxin and Iceblink. For defense we'll be dropping Sentry Guardian Turret and utilizing Numbing Traps to keep everyone alive. We'll stay in the main pack buffing/debuffing everything and clicking pylons when the zBarb calls for it.
Tired of only doing Rat Runs on your zNec? It's time to bring it for some 150s. We will give all curses from Simulacrum Cursed Form and 100% crit chance from Corpse Lance Brittle Touch. We'll stay in the pack firing Corpse Lances at the elites and resetting our Land of the Dead with Death Nova.
New Speed META
Currently there are two different 4man XP METAs available on the PTR. The first one revolves around a Frozen Orb Wizard (either two DPS or triple Support) while the other revolves around two Army of the Dead Necromancers using the reworked Bones of Rathma set. As the Tal/Firebird combo for Wizards is almost guaranteed to be an oversight and get nerfed, the real focus is on the latter one, which we don't expect heavy nerfs for.
Frozen Orb Wizard META
One or two Wizards combined with the typcial supports DH + Barb and either a second Wizard or a third support (Necro) is the way to go. Pulls are made quickly for the Wizard to obliterate with Frozen Orb and then move on. Right now it's possible to clear up to GR140 in around 3 minutes consistently, but a potential nerf to the set combo will probably reduce that by 20 or more Tiers. It would still be alright as the setup is quite strong even without it, but not stupidly broken anymore.
The new Rathma Army of the Dead builds allow for consistent AoE dps with decent mobility due to very fast Blood Rush cooldowns. From our testing going with two DPS Necromancers and then a support Barb + either support DH or Necro seems to be the way to go. The exact setup will depend on what changes (if any) will be made to the build. Right now, Fate's Vow's legendary affix is in the additive damage category instead of multiplicative, making the zDH much worse than normal. In case of a fix, zDH would probably pull ahead. On the other hand, Rathma's Shield provides near-permanent invulnerability and Squirt's Necklace uptime, which in case of a nerf would benefit zNec a lot more as Frozen Lands would help to consistently protect the buff even without invulnerability. In any case, this META seems like a decent contender with regular RAT Runs and might replace them in the next patch. Very exciting!
There are a few bugs and inconsistencies that we know so far:
- Wizard - Firebirds (4) Bonus
The 80% Damage Reduction is lost when drinking a potion or leveling up. This is extremely frustrating on Boss fights and for new Player who suddenly take 5 times more damage and just get 1 shot - Proof
- Enchantress - Fate's Lapse
The new "cheat death" proc does not last for 7 seconds - it just lasts for 1 second - Proof
- Necromancer - Fate's Vow
Fate's Vow's legendary affix increases Army of the Dead damage in the additive category instead of multiplicatively like almost every other legendary affix in the game (Wojahnni Assaulter being an exception). Maltorius' Petrified Spike had the same problem in previous patches so there is a good chance this will be adressed!
We will update our Guides, Tier lists, META after the PTR. A D3Planner update for PTR is coming in the next days. For individual global ranks we rely on Blizzard to update the API. No news here yet. Enjoy testing and keep feedback coming!