Diablo® III

Why use anything other than Dire Bats?

100 Undead Warlock
16975
Posts: 1,562
This isn't a rhetorical question.

220% weapon damage for less mana than most spells and more range than most spells, is there anything that beats that? I've been using Dire Bats almost the entire time since I've got them and just haven't found anything to replace it. Most spells do less damage per cast than Dire Bats (at least, based on the tooltip), so the only benefit is positioning (going over wallers and whatnot).

The only exceptions I've seen are Haunt, which takes 4.5 seconds of damage (1.5 seconds with Resentful Spirit) to be worth one Dire Bat cast, which is problematic when you can only have one per target, and Locust Swarm, which requires 4.8 seconds of uptime to be worth one one Dire Bats cast. So, Haunt may be better single target, but typically fails when there's more targets (all the time). Locust Swarm is occasionally better spread damage, but it's got worse range, and either eats through your mana too fast or sacrifices some of its potential damage for a mana regen (but, if you're not using Devouring Swarm + some other mana intensive spell, like Dire Bats, it's often wasted).

Almost everything in the decay section seems like it's almost outright inferior to Dire Bats.
Zombie Charger: often less damage, less range, more mana.
Spirit Barrage: Less or similar damage and SINGLE TARGET.
Acid Cloud: Typically less damage for more mana. Range is really nice, though.

There's Hex Chicken: Less damage for a radial AOE on a CD? Why?

So, is there much of a reason to use anything other than Dire Bat spam in most situations? I could see a use for Dire Bats + something with stronger single target, but everything else just seems to be made nigh obsolete in comparison to Dire Bats.
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I think you answered your own question.
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Posts: 21
1) They're unreliable. If you miss or the mob moves out of it, your mana-to-damage ratio goes down, and your overall DPS goes down.
2) Less conar spread. Normal firebats have a larger cone infront of you, meaning that even when the enemies aren't lined up perfectly, you can still hit them all. Dire Bats is completely linear.
3) Slow Animation. While they do great damage for their mana cost, the amount of damage per second doesn't add up because of their animation time. Test for yourself how fast you run oom with Dire Bats vs Plague Bats.
Edited by SinisteRing#1152 on 5/19/2012 11:16 AM PDT
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Posts: 2,394
I like zombie bear chargers personally but as you stated the range makes it much more situational. WD is appearing to be dire bat spam though which is a shame.
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Posts: 20
i have not been able to get rid of them either. been trying really hard, but i cant find a replacement (lvl 37). and for the fact that it is a line instead of a cone and it has a long travel time, i just aim it and move around alot to get the right angles while my summons line them up perfectly.

maybe this will all change soon, i am on act 1 of NM. maybe something else gets better later.
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I haven't used bats since act 2 normal, kinda hate em they seem weak. Grasp of the Dead or Locust swarm are more my style, more locust swarm.
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Are you using pestilence with locust swarm? One cast and then the entire mob has a DoT.
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Bats put you in an immobile position while casting.
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100 Undead Warlock
16975
Posts: 1,562
Zombie Bears seems like one of the few attack spells I'd consider placing on my bars, when I get it.

Siniste: "Unreliability" seems slightly minimized by longer range. Mobs 20-40 yards away can still be hit by Dire Bats, which means you can still deal damage from a range (as opposed to most non-Acid Cloud spells). In terms of multi-target, you might occasionally hit more mobs with, say, Acid Cloud, Locusts, or Plague Bats, but there's also plenty of cases where Dire Bats will hit an entire hallway. For single target, I haven't really run into this issue.

The less conar spread I feel is basically completely offset by the better range. Maybe this is different in Hell, but standing still to channel conical damage to hit 75% of a group seems worse than firing and half a group and the group behind it.

I understand your point about the slow animation, but I think this is entirely offset by your limited mana pool. If it takes 6 seconds to fire off 9 Dire Bats and 3 to burn through your Plague Bats, as long as the damage is comparable you're looking at the difference between killing an enemy in 3 or 6 seconds. Once you've hit that point, you're relying on mana regen to deal more damage, so your sustained damage evens out. Since Dire Bats has better mana:damage, it's going to have better sustained damage and better DPS in the long run.
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Dire bats is good if the mobs don't move around fast like champion/rare mobs in NM+ difficulties. For everything else, who cares what you use, they die fast enough anyways.
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Damage isn't everything in this game.

Using the bats makes you stand still and more vulnerable than pretty much any other spell besides soul harvest.

It's risk vs reward with this spell and even then you will not be able to get good use out of it against a very mobile elite enemy group that decides to teleport at you constantly, beating the crap out of you for channeling that spell the entire time.

This really applies to inferno where you really shouldn't want to get hit ever.
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Dire Bats/Vision Quest is great for clearing trash, but it's single target is really bad in NM and up, especially when there are fast/teleport/heavy movement mobs. When the Dire Bats start missing, your DPS just plummets. I've been using Acid Cloud as my AoE, because it's easier to aim, really looking forward to getting Corpse Explode. I haven't been using a Vision Quest build either, so I use Haunt or Spirit Barrage for single target DPS.
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100 Undead Warlock
16975
Posts: 1,562
05/19/2012 12:04 PMPosted by Quixotic
Are you using pestilence with locust swarm? One cast and then the entire mob has a DoT.

Assuming all mobs are hit instantly by the LS dot and 75% of the mobs are hit by Dire Bats, it takes 3.6 seconds of dot uptime to be worth a single DB cast. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Locust Swarm does 45% weapon damage per second. Dire Bats is 220% weapon damage times attack speed, has a longer range, and can be spammed. Locust Swarm + Dire Bats might be viable, but Dire Bats still seems like the better way to burn through mana.

05/19/2012 12:07 PMPosted by ShadeyHeart
Bats put you in an immobile position while casting.

As opposed to what? Zombie

I haven't used bats since act 2 normal, kinda hate em they seem weak. Grasp of the Dead or Locust swarm are more my style, more locust swarm.

Grasp of the Dead: 208% weapon damage over 8 second, compared to 220% weapon damage instantly. If I'm going to use this, I'm going to use Grasp + Bats.
Locust Swarm: Not spammable, short range, burns mana, dot.

Let me put this another way: Is there really a reason to take Dire Bats off my bars, for general play? The best alternative I can find is Acid Cloud for its radial damage and point-and-click, despite the lower DPS (not sure how much damage Lob Blob does).
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85 Worgen Warrior
2740
Posts: 32
I was using dire bats most of the game but recently I've changed it up to zombie dogs. Hits a tad bit harder, does a nice explosive aoe at impact and moves towards my intended target a heck of a lot faster
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100 Undead Warlock
16975
Posts: 1,562
05/19/2012 12:22 PMPosted by Dags
but it's single target is really bad in NM and up, especially when there are fast/teleport/heavy movement mobs.

I haven't had a problem with this, so far, halfway into Act 2 of NM. Wallers have given me more of a reason to use other spells than anything else.

05/19/2012 12:16 PMPosted by ShadeyHeart
It's risk vs reward with this spell and even then you will not be able to get good use out of it against a very mobile elite enemy group that decides to teleport at you constantly, beating the crap out of you for channeling that spell the entire time.

Dire Bats don't channel, they're a projectile.

BTW, this is the build I've been using:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#hcUdYT!Ydb!.aZZZZ
I sometimes change my primary around, depending on the area, and often switch around Zombie Dogs for Hex: Hedge Magic. I change around the passives alot, too. I've been playing with a Wizard, Demon Hunter, and under-leveled Barb, though, which is quite a different experience than solo-ing.
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85 Gnome Priest
5635
Posts: 249
Explosive beast is pretty good (zombie charger rune). It's basically a dire bat that explodes on impact with shorter range, but travels in a straight line. Range and speed are greater than a zombie charger but doesn't quite make it to the edge of the screen.

It really all depends on what I'm doing.

General all purpose = explosive beast. It's a lot easier to use than dire bats in tight areas and for fighting thru door ways. The AE is also in a radius around the target, not in a line so it's better at keeping you safe against hordes of smaller enemies

Single target boss = hungry bats. If I'm in a group or solo against an easy boss this works great.

Boss I'm scared of = Dire bats. I'll fight diablo solo from off screen and aim using the mini map.
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Posts: 476
If I'm correct, the rune effects on spirit barrage are stackable. So you can drop 5 45% weapon damage per second for 5 seconds down on a boss that is being tanked (either by a party member or your gargantuan). I -know- that the locust swarm rune that makes killed enemies drop a pool of acid is stackable.

You could also use manitou for some continous dot damage. Though in fairness, I have yet to test it's usefulness and whether or not it stacks.

Acid cloud can be runed to strike a radius of 24 yards and most of the damage is front loaded. I can't say much for zombie charger. I didn't like the range on the spell.
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Spirit barage with the rune attacking 3 more targets is pretty good damage when you have the 300% regen (CD WD)
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What do you do when your elite mob enemies are shielded? Or extra fast? Or mortar? Or teleport? Or molten? Or extra health? Or any combination of?

Does your bat god save you then?
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Poison bats I find are way more effective. Dots an entire group of mobs then locust swarm for more dot damage. Then just run around a grasp for kiting dot ownage
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