PTR 2.7.1 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!


Overview

The Public Test Realm (PTR) for Patch 2.7.1 will begin on Thursday, June 17 and will last over the course of two weeks. During this time there may be periodic maintenances, outages, hotfixes, or minor patches.

  • There will be three PTR-unique buffs active to help you on your journey: increased Legendary drop rate, increased experience gains, and double Blood Shard drops. You can also buy new gear for testing from the special PTR vendor, Djank Mi'em, who will exchange Blood Shards for class-specific bags full of Legendary items and Ethereals that we'd love for you to test!
  • Class and Balance Changes: To ensure that the most significant class changes receive an ample amount of attention, we'd love for you to focus testing and feedback on the set changes to the Monk's Inna's Mantra set, Crusader's Aegis of Valor set and the Necromancer's Masquerade of the Burning Carnival set.
  • New Season Theme Testing: Blizzard is looking to gather feedback on the seasonal theme content featuring Ethereals


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.


Season 24 Theme: Ethereals

Developer's Note: Diablo II left us with fond memories when it released more than 20 years ago, and with Diablo® II: ResurrectedTM coming soon, we’d like to introduce a feature to honor that legacy. For this seasonal theme, our inspiration took shape by reimagining how Ethereal items could manifest in Diablo III. In Season 24, Ethereals are rare, powerful, and fleeting items, with 21 iconic weapons from Diablo II making a return.

New Season Theme: Season 24 introduces Ethereals, a new weapon-type that players will be able to acquire and hunt for in their upcoming seasonal journey. Ethereals will roll a powerful set of affixes, a random Class Weapon Legendary Power and a random Class Passive Power. Ethereals will have unique icons, names, item types, and sounds originally found in Diablo II. For additional details on Ethereals, check out the list below:

  1. Ethereals are account bound and can only be dropped by monsters, chests, and destructibles, but do not require your character to be level 70 to drop. Ethereals cannot be acquired through Kanai's Cube or from Kadala.
  2. Ethereal rarity drop rate is set between Ancient and Primal items.
  3. There are 3 unique Ethereals per class. Each Ethereal has fixed affixes and rolls one random Legendary Weapon power and one random Class Passive Skill.
  4. Only one Ethereal can be equipped at a time.
  5. Ethereals ignore item durability loss.
  6. Legendary Powers and Class Passive Skills rolled on Ethereals do not stack with the same power equipped through Kanai's Cube, Items or Skills.
  7. Ethereals cannot be Enchanted, Transmogrified, Dyed, Reforged, or traded.
  8. Ethereals can be augmented.
  9. Collecting all 21 Ethereals during Season 24 will reward players with the Feat of Strength, Ethereal Recollection. Players who accomplish this will have all Ethereal transmogrify options available for future seasonal and non-seasonal play.
  10. Ethereals only drop in Seasonal play, and will not transfer to your non-seasonal character when the season ends.

Opinion: This concept looks amazing! It is exhilarating to see the concept of Ethereal items from Diablo 2 brought to Diablo 3. Acquiring the right ethereal item and proper affixes to complement it seems pretty RNG but with a unique class weapon legendary effect and one extra passive, Ethereal Items should be a real powerhouse!

If this is the case, this might also shift the balance in favor of Two-Handed Weapons builds as you can only wear one Ethereal item at a time. An Ethereal Two-Handed Weapon might be better than one Ethereal One-Handed Weapon with an Ancient or Primal Off-Hand.

With the stated drop chance being between Ancients (10%) and Primals (0.25%), a drop chance of ~1-5% seems likely. To get all 21 exclusive Transmogs, players will most likely have to create and play all 7 Classes during Season 24!

Possible Properties: One possibility for the "powerful set of affixes" is a ~30% higher stat range like the first version of Primal items from PTR Patch 2.5.0. As an example a One-Handed Weapon could roll:

  • Damage Range [1582 - 1872] - [1932 - 2328]
  • Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Vitality [1075 - 1300]

This is only one of many possibilities. There could also be more affixes or even completely new ones!


Item & Balance Changes

Monk

  • Skill Change: Mystic Ally Fire Ally
    Now splits into 2 instead of 5, but now all Fire Allies can split. Damage radius slightly increased and damage increased from 480% to 1920% weapon damage.
  • Skill Change: Mystic Ally Earth Ally
    Damage increased from 380% to 4500% weapon damage.

Opinion: Good change to bring other runes up to speed to Water Ally! Prepare for some crazy synergies with Fire Ally and these changes below:

  • Inna's Mantra (4) Bonus
    Gain the base effect of all four Mantras at all times. You gain 5% damage reduction for each Mystic Ally you have out. Your Mystic Allies no longer take damage.
  • Inna's Mantra (6) Bonus
    Gain the passive abilities of the five runed Mystic Allies at all times. Attacking enemies creates your chosen Mystic Ally that lasts 15 seconds, up to 10 Mystic Allies. The damage of your Mystic Ally is increased by 950% for each Mystic Ally you have out.
  • The Crudest Boots
    Mystic Ally summons two Mystic Allies that fight by your side. They deal 300% to 400% increased damage and are able to attack with their active forms longer.
  • Binding of the Lesser Gods
    Enemies hit by your Cyclone Strike take 300% to 400% increased damage from your Mystic Ally for 5 seconds. Split Fire Allies gain 5 times this bonus.

Developer's Note: Inna's Mantra played similarly to other Monk sets and didn't have a strong identity. We want to see the Mystic Ally play a more important role, rather than simply providing a passive power boost.

Opinion: The reworked Inna's Mantra Set seems to have an amazing concept and was one of the best targets for a rework! The first damage estimations actually seems pretty good. We have some first build concepts below, but will have to wait for the actual PTR patch for in-depth Build Guides and mechanics!

Wizard

  • Skill Change: Mirror Image
    Mirror Image icon now displays a counter to display how many Mirror Images are active.

Opinion: A very welcome change for extra quality of life for all Firebird Mirror Image players out there!

Crusader

  • Aegis of Valor (2) Bonus
    Attacking with Fist of the Heavens empowers you, allowing Heaven's Fury to deal 125% increased damage for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.

Opinion: This bonus used to be 100% multiplicative to itself for a total of 8 times your damage (2x2x2). The new bonus stacks are additive with themselves, giving a total of 4.75 times your damage for a total multiplier loss of 1.68. This results in a 3.32 Greater Rift Tier nerf for the AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader. The build will still be very powerful both in Solo Push or as a Trash Killer and stays firmly in the S-Tier.

Necromancer

  • Masquerade of the Burning Carnival (6) Bonus
    Bone Spear cast by you and your Simulacrums deals 6,000% increased damage.

Opinion: The triple damage from Simulacrums is completely gone and the damage is nerfed from 10,000% to 6,000%. This leaves the Masquerade Bone Spear Necromancer with a 4.97 multiplier loss which results in a 10.21 Greater Rift Tier nerf. This is currently one of the strongest builds in the game in Season 23 and even with this nerf it can still clear Solo Greater Rift Tiers in the low 140 range. However it will most likely lose its spot in the Group Push META as the Trash Killer and also in the Group Experience META Bat-Runs as damage dealer. Now Bird and Rat-Runs will dominate again, but there might be a new Monk experience META with the reworked Inna's Mantra Set!

Developer's Note: Aegis of Valor and Masquerade of the Burning Carnival have been overperforming for several seasons. We're adjusting these sets in the interest of competitive variety.


Bug fixes

Non


Possible New Builds

We theorycrafted 3 new possible builds below. These are not final and still subject to change! As of today, the only Mystic Ally Active Effect benefitting from Pet multipliers is Water Ally. This means your sheet Attack Speed is not a separate damage multiplier and Enforcer does not work for the Active Effect of most other runes. Area Damage also currently only works with the Water Ally. The following builds are created under the assumption that all Mystic Ally Active Effects will benefit from Pet multipliers on the PTR!

GR Solo Push (Physical)
Greater Rift Solo Push (Physical)

Concept & Gameplay
We play around our Convention of Elements Physical rotation to deal damage. Enemies are grouped with Cyclone Strike Implosion for good Area Damage. On top of that we proc our Bindings of the Lesser Gods damage bonus as well as the toughness buff from Lefebvre's Soliloquy. Our Earth Ally's knock-up effect will help us to survive by adding Crowd Control and Shenlong's Spirit gives us an incredible damage multiplier. We can get a crazy additive damage snapshot with Way of the Hundred Fists Assimilation and then generate Spirit to keep up the Shenlong's Spirit buff with Crippling Wave Rising Tide.

We stack some Cooldown Reduction for a decent uptime on our main attack Mystic Ally Earth Ally, Epiphany Desert Shroud and Dashing Strike Blinding Speed for quick movement. Crudest Boots further buffs our Mystic Allies and now even extends their active forms. Flying Dragon is double dipping with Mystic Ally and will increase the damage as well as the Attack Speed.

Setups
Dashing Strike Blinding Speed can be changed to Dashing Strike Blinding Speed at high Paragon Levels for additional Attack Speed and Mystic Ally damage. An Aughild's Authority setup is possible aswell for a great damage boost.

A Mystic Ally rune swap to other elements like Water Ally or Fire Ally are also possible for Solo Push. They all have different benefits and drawbacks. Only time will tell which element is going to dominate the Solo Leaderboards on the PTR!

GR Group Speeds (Cold)
Greater Rift Group Speeds (Cold)

Concept & Gameplay
This setup could become an alternative to Rat Runs to farm experience effectively in groups. 2 of these Monks could be played in combination with a zBarb and a zDH to further boost the damage output.

Now we play a Two-Hand setup with Inna's Reach as we cannot keep up Shenlong's Spirit in these fast-paced runs. This gives us up to 120% multiplicative Mystic Ally damage. We also get an insane base damage by wearing a Two-Handed Weapon.

On top of that we should now play Bastions of Will instead of Endless Walk as we are constantly moving during speed runs. Way of the Hundred Fists Assimilation and Cyclone Strike Implosion are used to proc the 2.25 multiplier. Captain Crimson's Trimmings is added to the setup for a great Mystic Ally uptime and better mobility with Dashing Strike, as well as a decent damage boost. Convention of Elements is not recommended as it is not really effective in speedruns and Monks have 5 elements in their CoE rotation.

Setups
The damage Monks could even alternate Mantra of Healing instead of Blinding Flash or Serenity for the shield effect to archive a good Squirt's Necklace uptime. We could also add Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard for even more uptime. A Dual Wield Setup with Echoing Fury and In-Geom can also be a viable alternative with the potential of equipping an Ethereal item with either effect!
Just like the other builds showcased here, another element like Fire Ally or Earth Ally can be played instead.

Dropping one of the Monks for a Firebird Mirror Image Wizard is also a possibility as the Wizard will deal well with the Rift Guardian.

GR Group Trash Killer (Fire)
Greater Rift Group Trash Killer (Fire)

Concept & Gameplay
For 4-Player Push we focus fully on massive Area of Effect (AoE) damage. We stack as much Area Damage as we can get (178% ideally) and play around our Convention of Elements Fire rotation to absolutely demolish our enemies. Focus on the maximum possible damage setup with Squirt's Necklace and Bastions of Will. This Monk can get a crazy additive damage snapshot with Way of the Hundred Fists Assimilation right after the zBarb pixels the enemies with Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash. This will also proc Relentless Assault and keep Determination maxed. Now the Monk activates Mystic Ally Fire Ally for crazy explosions and the new Fire Ally splits. With Crippling Wave Rising Tide keeping up Spirit for Shenlong's Spirit and procing more Fire Allies with the new Inna's Mantra (6) Bonus is no problem. In the end it this Monk still relies on RNG in order to get Flying Dragon procs for maximum damage output.

Setups
If the servers allow it, Gogok of Swiftness can be replaced by Pain Enhancer to get even more Attack Speed and more reliable Flying Dragon procs. If a Supporter provides a shield to keep Squirt's Necklace we can also get in Blinding Flash Faith in the Light to buff our damage even more.

Just like the other variants, another rune like Water Ally or Earth Ally can be played.


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 Inna's Mantra Set as well as the crazy Ethereal Item update. See you on the Public Test Server!