PTR 2.7.0 Preview & Initial Thoughts

Content of this article:

Find the Official Blogpost by Blizzard here.

Disclaimer: Every Information presented here is still subject to change during and after the PTR! We will keep this post updated as things change! Find the updated week 1 Roundup post here.


Overview

The two-week PTR testing period for the 2.7.0 update begins February 25. Take a look at the preliminary patch notes below and start theorycrafting how you will make the most of the Follower system update, leaderboards changes, and Legendary items changes; Patch 2.7.0 will be arriving soon.
We have all patch notes listed here in this post and give our initial thoughts on how they might impact the game and shift the META.


Follower Items and Emanation

Followers will have 14 equippable items, the 13 standard ones plus the follower specific item. A new feature called Emanation is introduced, which allows players to gain the effect of certain Legendary Powers equipped on the hired Follower:

Standard Follower Enchantress for T16 Farming
  • Broken Crown
  • Homing Pads
  • Spaulders of Zakara
  • Goldskin
  • Custerian Wristguards
  • Nemesis Bracers
  • Gladiator Gauntlets
  • Gloves of Worship
  • Dovu Energy Trap
  • Rakoff's Glass of life
  • Avarice Band
  • Krede's Flame
  • The Flavor of Time
  • Sage's Journey (3) Bonus
  • Cain's Destiny (3) Bonus

A D3Planner Follower Embed including all new skills is currently in construction!

Opinion: Torment Greater Rift Keystone and Bounty farming will be even faster and more comfortable now! Now every build can run Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny for Torment farming, that will be a huge boost! With The Flavor of Time and Nemesis bracers players will also get a very decent buff for solo Greater Rifting especially with Conduit Pylons. Homing Pads might become an issue for solo pushing as you can keep the 65% Damage Reduction up almost all the time but just spamming the teleport town button (T) while performing other skills or spamming force move.


Follower Skills

Follower skills have been reworked:

Scoundrel

  • Skill rework Crippling Shot
    Ranged attack that deals 140% weapon damage and slows enemies hit by 80% for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Scoundrel's Dexterity.
  • Skill rework - Powered Shot
    Ranged attack that explodes on impact, dealing 120% weapon damage as Arcane to enemies within 10 yards and has a 100% chance to Stun enemies for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Scoundrel's Dexterity.
  • Skill rework - Hysteria
    Whenever you or the Scoundrel land a Critical Hit, you both will go into hysterics, increasing all damage done by 3% for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Scoundrel's Dexterity.
  • Skill rework - Anatomy
    Increases Critical Hit Chance by 1.8% to 4% for you and the Scoundrel based on the Scoundrel's Dexterity.
  • New Skill - Multishot Passive
    Passive: The Scoundrel's special attacks have a 50% to 70% chance to fire 3 bolts based on the Scoundrel's Dexterity.
  • Skill rework - Vanish
    When you take fatal damage, the Scoundrel conceals you from enemies for 3 to 7 seconds based on the Scoundrel's Dexterity and prevents your death.
  • New Skill - Night's Veil
    The Scoundrel launches a cloud that covers a 20-yard area and lasts 5 to 10 seconds based on the Scoundrel’s Dexterity. All attacks against enemies that are inside the cloud will be critical hits.
  • New Skill - Piercing Shot
    Ranged attack that pierces and increases damage done to enemies by 10% for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Scoundrel's Dexterity.

Templar

  • Skill rework - Heal and Loyalty
    These skills now scale based on the Templar’s Strength.
  • Skill rework - Intimidate
    Enemies that hit or are hit by the Templar are slowed by 80% for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Templar's Strength.
  • Skill rework - Charge
    Charges a target, dealing 280% weapon damage and stunning all enemies within 8 yards for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Templar's Strength.
  • Skill rework - Intervene
    Taunt enemies within 10 yards of you for 3 to 6 seconds based on Templar's strength when you are hit.
  • Skill rework - Onslaught
    Delivers a massive blow to an enemy for 800% weapon damage and causes the target and nearby enemies to take 10% increased damage for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Templar's Strength.
  • Skill rework - Guardian
    When you take fatal damage, the Templar will rush to your aid, knocking back enemies within 15 yards, healing you for 15% to 25% life based on the Templar's Strength, and shielding you from all damage for 5 seconds.

Enchantress

  • Skill Rework - Erosion
    Conjures a pool of energy that deals 330% weapon damage as Arcane over 5 to 7 seconds based on the Enchantress's Intelligence. Affected enemies will also take 10% increased damage.
  • Skill Rework- Focused Mind
    A 40-yard aura that increases Attack Speed for you and the Enchantress by 3% to 6% based on the Enchantress's Intelligence.
  • Skill Rework (Renamed from Powered Armor) - Powered Shield
    Reduces damage by 6% from ranged attacks, increases Armor by 3%, and slows melee attackers by 60% for 3 to 6 seconds for you and the Enchantress based on the Enchantress's Intelligence.
  • New Skill - Temporal Pulse
    The Enchantress casts a guided orb that deals 150% weapon damage and slows enemies by 80% for 3 to 6 seconds based on the Enchantress's Intelligence.
  • New Skill - Amplification
    Increases your highest static elemental bonus by 5% to 10% based on the Enchantress's Intelligence.
  • New Skill - Prophetic Harmony
    Reduce your skills’ Cooldowns by 5% to 10% based on the Enchantress's Intelligence.
  • New Skill - Fate's Lapse
    When you take fatal damage, the Enchantress empowers you to speed up your movement through time for 3 to 7 seconds to avoid death based on the Enchantress's Intelligence.

Opinion: We actually get a cheat death on all Followers! Hello hardcore players and permanent Pools of Reflection! A possible issue might be the cooldown of these cheat death skills combined with main state scaling and items like Vadim's Surge resulting into possible permanent damage immunity. The base cooldown of skills like Vanish is 30 seconds currently and with 13 items you can stack up to 70%+ Cooldown Reduction on your Follower + 50% extra from the Follower token while the duration can be up to 7 seconds. These Follower skills needs at least 90-120 seconds Cooldown.
It will also be interesting to see how Asheara's Vestments (4) Bonus will work on the PTR. Overall these are very good changes that make Followers meaningful and close the huge gap between Solo and Group play! It would also be awesome and especially helpful to newer players to see the Follower gear on the Leaderboard.


Solo Leaderboards Update

Greater Rift Solo Leaderboards now contain additional filters to sort by. This update provides a total of 7 filters available per class:

  • Each of the 5 Class Sets
  • No Class Set
  • All (default filter)

Opinion: This change will most likely motivate players to play more off meta builds and compete on the leaderboards with all the different set. Awesome change! Let's just hope this means players can have multiple records on the Leaderboards. Example: If a player already cleared GR140 solo with Masquerade of the Burning Carnival and gets a new clear on GR130 with Bones of Rathma that a new rank and leaderboard entry can be achieved for the new 130 clear on the "Rathma set" leaderboards.


Item Changes

Demon Hunter

  • Gears of Dreadlands nerf
    Hungering Arrow pierces a maximum of 2 times while wearing Gears of Dreadlands set.

Opinion: Looks like GoD will go from S-Tier straight to F-Tier. This seems like a rather bad way to nerf this build as most people will just switch to Unhallowed Essence and play that with Hungering Arrow still around S-Tier. Check out our UE Hungering Arrow Guide here.

Necromancer

  • Bones of Rathma Rework
    (2) Bonus: Your minions reduce the cooldown of army of the dead by 1 sec each time they deal damage. You skeletal warriors spawn faster, and your revived minions no longer expire.
    (4) Bonus: Your minions no longer take damage. You gain 1% damage for 15 sec each time one of your minions deals damage. Max 75 stacks.
    (6) Bonus: Each active minion increases Army of the Dead and Bone Spirit damage by 1.000%

Opinion: Crazy strong multiplier as you can have 10 Skeletal Mages, 10 Revived minions, 7 Command Skeletons and 1 Command Golem for a total of up to 28.000% increased damage. This build will for sure end up S-Tier material in combination with the other changes. On top of that this build has an insane Rift Guardian Killer potential for group play!

  • Defiler Cuisses
    Bone Spirit damage is increased by 400-500% for every second it is active and will also freeze enemies.

Opinion: A nice way to proc Krysbin's Sentence that makes this build solo viable!

  • New Bracers - Bonds of C'Lena
    Army of the Dead and Bone Spirit deal 300-400% increased damage. Bone Spirit deals an additional 2% increased damage for 5 sec each time Army of the Dead hits any enemy.

Opinion: Another huge damage buff! Not sure if Army of the Dead will see many builds implementations as skill slots are limited. Only PTR will tell 🙂

Wizard

  • Firebird's Finery rework
    (2) Bonus: When you die, a meteor falls from the sky and revives you. Disintegrate Ignites enemies, causing them to take 3000% weapon damage per second until they die.
    (4) Bonus: You gain 80% damage reduction and 4000% increased damage while Ignite is applied to a target. Casting Disintegrate adds Combustion stacks that reduce the cooldown of Teleport by 2% per stack. Stacks up to 50 times.
    (6) Bonus: Hitting an Ignited enemy with a fire spell other than Disintegrate deals Ignite damage multiplied by Combustion stacks.

Opinion: This changed sounds super interesting and even has speed run potential (let's challenge Rat Runs!!) with possibly 0 second Cooldown on Teleport but very unclear wording. The new (4) Bonus will be the strongest (4) Bonus in the game and even stronger than some (6) Bonus sets like Immortal King's Call or Armor of Akkhan.
But to create optimal builds people will combine this set with Tal Rasha's Elements (6) Bonus to benefit from 2 generic multipliers and get Area Damage to work with any skill they want. Skills like Arcane Orb, Hydra and Energy Twister come to mind with lot of additional more damage multipliers.
In its current form Firebird's Finery (6) Bonus will not have much screen time as it only buffs Ignite damage and most likely will not work with Area Damage. A possible solution could be a rework to increase every other fire spell damage but Disintegrate multiplied by Combustion stacks.

Witch Doctor

  • Gazing demise nerf
    The damage of Spirit Barrage is increased by 100-150%. Spirit Barrage gains the Phantasm rune that lasts twice as long, and attack rate from Manitou spectres is increased.

Opinion: The multiplier goes from 3 x 150 % down to 150 % resulting in: 5.5/2,5=2.2 damage multiplier loss or around ~5-6 Greater Rift level nerf. This moves the build from S-Tier to A-Tier. A very good change to a slightly overpowered Witch Doctor build. Other Witch Doctor sets desperately need attention though!

All Classes

  • Blackthorne's Jousting Mail
    Replaced one primary property with a random elemental damage affix.

Opinion: Nice idea to make elemental damage pants available and droppable on all classes. However Swamp Land Waders will still be played everywhere as their elemental damage is an additional primary (5 total) property and not replacing one (4 total).


Possible New Builds

Rathma

Solo Push
Solo Push Necromancer
Follower
Solo Push Scoundrel

Solo Push Concept
The potential damage output of this build is just crazy. Bone Spirit is a very special skill that can be aimed at a specific target by hovering it or it automatically seeks the nearest enemies if no target is hovered on cast. With the addition of the new Bonds of C'Lena and the Bones of Rathma rework with no cap on buffs by pets (you can have 10 Skeletal Mages, 10 Revived minions, 7 Command Skeletons and 1 Command Golem for a total of up to 28.000% increased damage) the damage goes through the roof. However you can not fit in all of these skills on your skill bar together with Army of the Dead, Bone Spirit, a generator to stack Bane of the Stricken and Land of the Dead to initially create corpses. It can be very tricky to get a nice benefit from Defiler Cuisses but with the added freeze effect we have a good Krysbin's Sentence uptime whenever we shoot Bone Spirit.

Setups
Only PTR and actual gameplay will tell the final solo build. Options to consider include Devour to consume corpses without animation, Blood Rush for mobility and Skeletal Mage to get more damage.


Group Rift Guardian Killer

Rift Guardian Killer Concept
This new Necromancer is set to be the new Rift Guardian Killer even outclassing Heaven's Fury Crusader. It is already a A-Tier build in our S22 Rift Guardian Killer Tier List that now gets a x5 buff (around 10 Greater Rift tiers) from the new legendary Bracers alone plus the reworked Bones of Rathma multiplier over Legacy of Dreams.
Running first napkin math DPS simulations in D3Planner already show us damage values per shot of 716 trillion before the new buffs. The current Bones of Rathma does not buff Bone Spirit yet and the Bracers do not exist either. We take the base 716, multiply it by (6) Bonus bonus of 201 (10 Skeletal Mages, 10 Revived minions) and multiply by 5 for the Bonds of C'Lena and get a total of 719 quadrillion per Bone Spirit with all buffs up at 5.000 Paragon. Remember in an average Land of the Dead rotation we can get out around 21 Bone Spirits resulting in a total of 15.000 quadrillion damage done without accounting for any Bane of the Stricken stacks. The Rift Guardian only has 1,772 quadrillion health (adjusted for Frailty) in a 4-Player GR150 group. That sounds pretty damn crazy and will have to be tuned down for sure during the PTR!

Setups
Only PTR and actual gameplay will tell the final build here. Options include:

  • Jesseth Arms with Command Skeletons
  • Simulacrum and Reilena's Shadowhook
  • Stone of Jordan and Dayntee's Binding
  • Legacy of Dreams and Shi Mizu's Haori

Firebirds

Solo Push
Solo Push Wizard
Follower
Solo Push Scoundrel

Solo Concept
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.

Gameplay
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.


Setups
Many Passives to choose from. Blur, Cold Blooded and even Unwavering Will can be played as an alternative.


Trash Killer Arcane Orb

Trash Killer Concept & Gameplay
Your team members gather up the monsters and you kill then with Frozen Orb from around 40 yards away after getting all of your buffs up. Proceed to move to the next pull quickly by utilizing Teleport. Damage rotation is always timed with Cold Convention of Elements. Squirt's Necklace can be kept by avoiding heavy Physical attacks and constantly attacking to maintain shields from Magic Weapon Deflection.

Setups
We can switch Squirt's Necklace to Halo of Karini and Magic Weapon to Storm Armor to get a tremendous toughness boost.
We can even try and play this as a triple support setup by adding a zNec and chaining Stone Gauntlets to The Shame of Delsere, Electrocute to Spectral Blade Thrown Blade and Bane of the Powerful to Bane of the Stricken.


Changelog

  • We will keep this post updated during the PTR and list a changelog here

Let us test all these changes thoroughly, give constructive feedback and enjoy the reworked sets as well as the significant Follower and Leaderboard updates. See you on the Public Test Server!


Patch Summary Video

Patch 2.7.0 Preview by Rhykker