Diablo® III

A “life vs death” death race for 2 HC WDs

Current status: The death race is completed and Terrowin is the winner; post 46 on page 3 provides the final details.

... A Race to Outlive the Other ...

If one Witch Doctor focuses on Life magic and another on Death magic, which one will survive longer? At what level, in what part of the game, and to what kind of foe will the one who falls first be laid low?

Post your guesses in a response to this thread and I'll edit them into the second post in this thread, to keep track of them in one place. Each poster gets one guess and it can't replicate an earlier guess by somebody else – it's first come, first served, for each unique guess. I'll post about the progress of both characters through the same part of the game, from time to time, comparing their challenges and successes. They'll level in “lock-step”, essentially, and I'll do a coin toss to decide which one goes first into the next part of the game whenever I notice that one them has caught up with the other.

The Winner's Prize:

The prize for coming closest to guessing the correct answer will be some crafting materials that both characters find. If two posters are both about equally close to being correct, then the crafting materials will be split between those two posters.

Don't get your hopes up *too* high about the reward for winning, though, as one of them may not even make it to the Skeleton King; I'm more than half expecting to end up being quite embarrassed by how little progress gets made before I'm posting that the race is over. That would be OK in the end, though, because however things turns out it'll be fun.

If you'd like to make a guess ...

The suggested format for making a guess, in a response in this thread, is as follows:

First to die ... LiveCandles
Dies at level ... 10
He dies in ... Skeleton King boss map
Killing blow by ... Skeleton King

Further details are given below for the characters ...


Constraints and Freedoms for Both Characters:

- Solo hardcore play only
- They use gear they find, buy from vendors, or craft on their own. No item transfers, exchanges, gifts, or hand-me-downs, and no use of the auction house
- Running away is permitted, when the game permits it; they're both brave, but not suicidal
- No “training” for what's up ahead by reading quest or boss fight guides, watching videos, or playing softcore characters
- The general practice will be a “full clear” plus quest completion, then move on to the next quest. Sometimes areas will be repeated, but with no deliberate over-leveling for particular game areas.
- But, if they make it far enough, then farming will be done by both characters before entering a new difficulty level. If by some truly incredible miracle they both make it to inferno (as if!), then they'll farm whenever the spirit moves, until they seem ready for whatever is next.

Permitted and Prohibited Skills

- Both will take Spirit Walk at 16 and Spirit Vessel at 30 - if they live long enough.
- Neither will use Soul Harvest, Vision Quest, Circle of Life, or Fetish Sycophants.
- Any passive skill other than the three listed above can be chosen for either LiveCandles or DeadCandles - except that LiveCandles will never be given Zombie Handler
- Other than for Spirit Walk and Soul Harvest, given their polar opposite approaches to magic all permitted active skills for one are prohibited for the other (ie: nearly a mirror image). Their respective permitted active skills are given below:

LiveCandles: Permitted active skills include spirit walk plus ...
    Live summons: toads, bats, locust swarm, hex, big bad voodoo, fetish army
    Poison (biotoxins): dart, acid cloud
    Persuasion: mass confusion


DeadCandles: Permitted active skills include spirit walk plus ...
    Death-related: corpse spiders, firebomb, grasp, dogs, sacrifice, chargers, gargantuan, zombie wall
    Disrupting souls: horrify, haunt, spirit barrage


Followers:
LiveCandles dislikes the lying and conniving Scoundrel, and will never adventure with him
DeadCandles dislikes the goodie two-shoes Templar, and will never adventure with him

Who am I?

I'm another new D3 player, like others here, only probably with less common sense than most because I like playing hardcore. I like to learn as I play and one way I like doing that is to pick an interesting (to me) theme for each character, which usually handicaps them by limiting power selections, and then see how far into the game my character can go. My first hardcore death has already occurred – a level 16 Wizard was killed by the Butcher; I made a string of silly errors and died in the fire. My highest character is a “generic” level 17 hardcore WD, played without any restrictions and who did successfully solo the Butcher at level 16.
Edited by candlelight#1376 on 7/7/2012 6:11 PM PDT
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If you'd like to make a guess, then the suggested format for doing that is as given in the example below:

First to die ... LiveCandles
Dies at level ... 10
He dies in ... Skeleton King boss map
Killing blow by ... Skeleton King

The above is just an example, and not a guess by me; for obvious reasons I'm not competing against others to guess when and how one will fall before the other.

--------------------------------

Guesses ordered from lowest level to highest ...

androjeans
First to die - livecandles
level @ when dead - 17
difficulty - normal
map - pre-butcher, but butcher level
deathblow - molten elites [theyre unburied or something like that; can't remember the names, just affixes :P]


Yukito
First to die...LiveCandles
Dies at level...24
Dies in...Act 2 Boss Fight
Killing Blow By... Belial
...


GeneralLFury
First to die: Live candles
Level : 25
Difficulty : normal
Where : Beliel
KB : Beliel


Corners
First to die- Deadcandles
Dies at level 36
Killed by illusionist vortex elites
Killing blow by illusionist vortex elite


Noodle
First to die - Whomever fights NM Belial first, as both will die
(Both) Die at level 42
Killed by Belial


John
First to die...LiveCandles
Dies at level...45
Dies in...Act 3 Keep (Indoors)
Killing Blow By... Fallen Maniac

Quick edit: Changed the level. Good luck!


Geo
livecandles dies act 3 of nightmare to some spear throwing elites.


Terrowin
First to die - DeadCandles
Dies at level 50
Killed by Izual's minions
Edited by candlelight#1376 on 6/23/2012 5:57 AM PDT
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First to die...LiveCandles
Dies at level...24
Dies in...Act 2 Boss Fight
Killing Blow By... Belial

edited to say 24 not 14 my fault
Edited by Yukito#1175 on 5/22/2012 9:18 PM PDT
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Preparations

The first key preparation was to buy inventory slots so that two rows are for LiveCandles and two rows are for DeadCandles, to keep their stored gear separate. Also, most gold was cleared out of the account. LiveCandles and DeadCandles probably collect gold at about the same rate, so I won't worry overly much about trying to calculate exactly how much each collects. This might slightly compromise on having each character not taking from the other. But, tracking down to the last gold coin wouldn't be fun, and so I'll just keep gold usage approximately equal for both characters.

DeadCandles' Travels

DeadCandles used poison dart to level 3, then switched to spiders and won't look back. He's just reached the waypoint and checkpoint in the Royal Crypts in a quick, uneventful two playing sessions. He sent the Templar packing, when offered the chance to select him as a follower, as he had grown weary of his “duty honor blah blah” chatter, preferring instead the company of his less bothersome zombie dogs. He is at the waypoint just before the Skeleton King, in Act 1.

Level: 9
Life: 382
Mana: 230
Listed damage: 19.23
Armor: 157

Current powers:
Left mouse – Spiders (Leaping)
Right mouse - Grasp of the dead (Unbreakable)
1 – Zombie dogs
2 – Horrify

His only semi-noteworthy piece of gear is a vendor-bought mending ring of the bear (+5 vit, I believe).

LiveCandles' Travels

LiveCandles is using two powers (dart, bats), and will be until at least level 11, when frogs are available. The lack of summons and other CC means LiveCandles plays completely differently from DeadCandles; LiveCandles takes a “kill or be killed” approach to battles, as he has no defenses and won't have any for a while. However, LiveCandles currently has the Templar as a follower, seeing in him a kindred spirit with a desire to do what is right; having the Templar along helps somewhat. LiveCandles is at the same waypoint as DeadCandles, and the Skeleton King will be next for both of them.

Level: 9
Life: 422
Mana: 230
Listed damage: 24.97
Armor: 136

Current powers:
Left mouse – Poison darts (Splinters)
Right mouse - Firebats
1 – None
2 – None

His only semi-noteworthy pieces of gear are two rings of wounding (vendor) and two “... of the bear” armor pieces (+10 total, also vendor). Neither character has done any crafting yet.

Observations:

I'd never used poison dart before LiveCandles and the splinters rune makes it into a toxic automatic weapon. That's a very good thing because LiveCandles has no defenses of any kind at all until level 16, when spirit walk is taken, and no CC at all until level 22; it will be level 26 before LiveCandles has a healing skill. On the other hand, DeadCandles would have a lot of trouble if cornered, as he doesn't have the burst damage potential of LiveCandles.
Edited by candlelight#1376 on 5/24/2012 12:20 AM PDT
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I like this. I wish you would tl;dr a little better though, its interesting, but I'd love to just check in on progress.
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First to die - livecandles
level @ when dead - 17
difficulty - normal
map - pre-butcher, but butcher level
deathblow - molten elites [theyre unburied or something like that; can't remember the names, just affixes :P]

cause of death for livecandles is lack of wall/graps CC, which is absolutely paramount for WDs to live...even in softcore normal difficulty :P
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05/24/2012 12:34 AMPosted by Squirelzrme
I like this. I wish you would tl;dr a little better though, its interesting, but I'd love to just check in on progress.
Thank you for the feedback.

I don't know if I tl;dr'd well in the next post (I probably didn't), but I tried to keep each topic relatively tl;dr.
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LiveCandles lost the coin toss, meaning that he went first for the next adventures. Skeleton King went down smoothly to both of them, as his attack routine is simple to figure out. LiveCandles took him down noticeably faster, as firebats cleaned up minions quickly and quite a few leaping spiders were distracted by minions for DeadCandles.

LiveCandles' Travels

The trip to Wartham's Chapel Cellar waypoint was smooth, with the exception of one battle explained further below. Poison dart was often enough to take out entire spawns. When it was not, and melee opponents swarmed, frogs and/or firebats melted them. On that note, firebats provides a medium-range cone-shaped channeling skill with high damage, and it is helping LiveCandles right now more than Dire Bats could. Two item affixes that seem to be quite helpful is a +2 to life on hit, given how often he hits, and the +5% to run speed boots that he now wears.

Level: 12
Life: 624
Mana: 260
Listed damage: 36.10
Armor: 227

Current powers:
Left mouse – Poison darts (Splinters)
Right mouse – Firebats (no rune)
1 – Frogs
2 – None

DeadCandles' Travels

DeadCandles went after LiveCandles, and nothing threatened him for longer than it took to use horrify because grasp slowed mobs down, zombie dogs distracted enemies, and spiders chewed up everything. He is now using a +18 (!) to vit one-handed sword with 16.7 base damage right now, and some other +vit gear, I believe, and so his life total is quite reasonable for his level. He has a +1 to life per hit affix on one item, which seems to be helping at least a little.

Level: 12
Life: 674
Mana: 260
Listed damage: 29.00
Armor: 263

Current powers:
Left mouse – Spiders (Leaping)
Right mouse - Grasp of the dead (Unbreakable)
1 – Zombie dogs (Rabid)
2 – Horrify

Jailer Savage Beasts: A Tale of Two Witch Doctors ...

While clearing the Fields of Misery, and not yet level 11, LiveCandles encountered a mixed set of mobs, with 3 jailer savage beasts, a couple of trees, and goats. He found out about the jailers by being imprisoned and getting hit once for about a quarter of his life, while there were many mobs en route. Using a fighting retreat to whittle down mobs, I had held off on drinking a potion, letting health regen help out and hoping to save drinking a potion until his life got low; I got that opportunity when the jailer beasts eventually caught up, imprisoned LiveCandles, hit him with charge attacks, and came fairly close to killing him. I hit the “q” button and then started channeling firebats, hoping that firebats would burn up the beasts before they took LiveCandles down. And the bats got the job done.

In contrast, DeathCandles also ran across 3 jailer savage beasts on the same map (also at level 10), without goats but still with a tree or two. DeadCandles had the dogs and grasp slow down the savage beasts, while slinging spiders from close enough off-screen to see them leaping on whatever was nearby, but far enough away that DeadCandles couldn't be targeted. The dogs didn't survive well, but in the end DeadCandles took no damage.

Other Notes:

Comparing followers, LiveCandles and DeadCandles each have the best follower for them – which has been a good piece of luck, and not good planning. A boost to DPS and support in the back ranks was what DeadCandles needed and the Scoundrel provides that; he hangs back with DeadCandles, usually, and I've seen him switch targets to whatever has broken through the front lines and is headed for DeadCandles. He has noticeably better damage than the Templar. The Templar is perfect for LiveCandles, given his toughness, his tendency to block chokepoints so mobs can't pass, and his healing aura. Lacking any minions or other defenses, the Templar's contributions have been quite noticeable.

Frogs are turning out to be a mana-efficient shield against weaker melee opponents; when they swarm, LiveCandles spams frogs and very few ever make it all the way to LiveCandles.

The Spider Queen is up next. LiveCandles is hoping that frogs eat spiders, while DeadCandles is hoping that his lack of burst damage won't cause difficulty in a small and confined space.
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First to die: Live candles

Level : 25

Difficulty : normal

Where : Beliel

KB : Beliel
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DeadCandles lost the next coin toss, and so he went first to attempt to clear the remainder of Act 1, from the Spider Queen onward.

DeadCandles' Travels:

I had an opportunity to try out a few new power combinations with DeadCandles, and it was a good learning experience. I'm now a fan of haunt; I often open with haunt on a few mobs, slow things down with grasp as they surge toward DeadCandles, and then throw a lot of spiders; Spiders plus grasp serve as DOT / AOE, while haunt hurries up the rate at which individual mobs die. Haunt is particularly good for champs / bosses, as well as any annoying mobs that break through to the back ranks and close in on DeadCandles. It goes places some other attacks won't go, as well, which is helpful.

I experimented with zombie charger, and while the animation is sorta kinda neat, because of its short range I've swapped it out. Horrify gets used occasionally, mostly for large melee swarms in close proximity and for jailer / waller / vortex / teleport mobs. It's working well so far and I don't miss having taken dogs out of the build to put in Haunt; the dogs contributed little damage and they didn't distract mobs all that well either.

Overall, it was a smooth (and fun) journey for DeadCandles to the beginning of Act 2; the Butcher was very cooperative about not pulling DeadCandles onto the fire more than a couple of times, and DeadCandles was never in any serious difficulties along the way.

Current Stats (after Act 2 shopping)
Level: 16
Life: 1250
Mana: 300
Armor: 354
Damage: 45.23

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#bZUXe!!aa.a

LiveCandles' Travels:

LiveCandles continued his pattern of living on the edge, for tougher battles; one tactic that repeatedly worked, when jailed or walled in, was to spam Firebats when mobs were right up in melee range; health globes that dropped seemed to be automatically absorbed, at least sometimes, and “life on hit” helped, as well. He was still in some trouble a few times, but he came out of all battles OK – at least so far. LiveCandles' hard luck carried over to the Butcher, as well,; even though LiveCandles took the Butcher down significantly faster than DeadCandles did, the Butcher still gave LiveCandles more of a pummeling, pulling him into the fire more often and hitting him more often from range. In the end, though, the Butcher fell to both LiveCandles and DeadCandles.

Current Stats (after Act 2 shopping)
Level: 16
Life: 1090
Mana: 300
Armor: 321
Damage: 64.25

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#acUW!!a

Notes:

After getting to act 2, some shopping led to substantial upgrades for both characters, upping hit points about 20-30%, resistances perhaps 2-3%, and damage about 15-25%. For those who don't know, if you don't like the gear currently for sale at the vendors, then you can leave the game, resume it, and all vendor gear will be re-set. It's a fairly speedy process and easily noticeable upgrades are possible, by repeatedly visiting the vendors.

For LiveCandles, firebats are very effective for the early part of normal; when swarmed by melee attackers I either have LiveCandles stand his ground and take everything down or, if attacked from multiple angles, then I back LiveCandles into a choke point that gets mobs to funnel themselves into the narrow area and start milling around, trying to get by each other; then Firebats melts them, en masse. The “per hit” life return magical affix seems to really like channeling skills because LiveCandles' life orb fills up quite quickly when melee swarms are being taken down; it's interesting how that one skill and the “life on hit” affix can turn a potentially threatening situation into a “Cool, free healing!” moment.

Act 2 is up next.
Edited by candlelight#1376 on 5/26/2012 12:05 PM PDT
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What is point here? The skill limitations don't even make sense. It seems like you want one to be an undead caster and the other to be a living caster? Firebomb isn't an undead spell... Spirit walk is...

Making these excuses allowing bother to use some skills makes this challenge or adventure meaningless....

Lots of people respected the WoW ironman challenge.... If you want people to follow and respect anything you do here... Don't cheat or make excuses. Follow it to the letter and if one has a disadvantage hell have to Sigurd out how to overcome it....
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First to die ... LiveCandles
Dies at level ... 9
He dies in ... Skeleton King boss map
Killing blow by ... Skeleton King

Either that or the butcher.. I'm not familiar with the WD skills, so I'm basing the character choice on the fact that this person doesn't have dogs :)
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First to die ... LiveCandles
Dies at level ... 9
He dies in ... Skeleton King boss map
Killing blow by ... Skeleton King

Either that or the butcher.. I'm not familiar with the WD skills, so I'm basing the character choice on the fact that this person doesn't have dogs :)
Thank you for your guess. You might want to guess again, though, as both characters did ultimately make it through Act 1 normal.

I could have been more clear about how things are going, and so I edited the first post; progress will always be visible at the top of the first post, going forward.
Edited by candlelight#1376 on 5/26/2012 1:13 PM PDT
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this was pretty interesting to read lol but i want to see how it ends
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LiveCandles lost the next coin toss, and so he went first to attempt the first part of Act 2.

LiveCandles' Travels:

The desert outside the Act 2 town provided a good testing ground for different combinations of dart, frogs, and firebats. The “summon endless explosive frogs” defense worked very well when mobs were swarming and loosely packed (ie: fallen) and against physically large single targets that were closing to melee range, as it seemed that sometimes two frogs would hit at once. Frogs are also great for underground enemies; I’d “fish” for the underground mobs by casting out some frogs, stepping into the middle of where the frogs were milling about, and then tempting the underground mobs to surface next to LiveCandles. They’d usually receive an “explosive” welcome from the bullfrogs, when they surfaced to attack. I should admit that I didn’t do very well at first with this approach, as LiveCandles would usually take a hit or two and the timer on frogs is short, plus they wander. But, after some practice underground mobs would often die before carrying out a single attack, as I got better at drawing underground mobs near the frogs and stutter-stepping to the side just before they seemed likely to start their “surfacing” animation.

In contrast to frogs, firebats was generally more reliable in close quarters and when mobs were swarming and densely packed; firebats was clearly better while nestled inside choke points, waiting for densely packed mobs to swarm forward.

Dart is the only long range weapon that LiveCandles currently has, and so it got a lot of use. Spirit walk got a little use, when swarmed from multiple directions by fallen and in an underground cellar.

I thought Magda would be tougher. I went in ready for a really difficult fight, not knowing what to expect, and found out that all I needed to do was summon explosive bullfrogs repeatedly to take out her summons (usually they were gone in a handful of seconds), avoid the clouds she sent toward LiveCandles, and hit her when her shield was down. Then there was an all-out blitz in the Palace to rescue Leah from large crowds of mobs, for which firebats and frogs proved their worth again, followed by a tour of the sewers and freeing Adria.

Current Stats (after rescuing Adria)
Level: 20
Life: 1416
Mana: 340
Armor: 429
Damage: 81.57

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#acUW!ZY!a..a

DeadCandles' Travels:

DeadCandles had a mostly uneventful trip through to the same ending point as LiveCandles. Haunt with Consuming Spirit to open on several mobs, grasp, and then spiders to follow up usually cleaned up spawns in fairly short order. Still, DeadCandles has more difficulty than LiveCandles in very confined spaces and in wide open spaces, as with no chokepoint some mobs just go straight at him; DeadCandles doesn’t have the burst damage potential of LiveCandles, at least not yet, so horrify does get used from time to time and Spirit Walk also sees some use. He drank his first potion of the game when fighting in the large battle inside the palace, which underscores his primary weakness. He also rescued Adria, as his last step forward in the most recent play session.

Current Stats (after rescuing Adria)
Level: 19.8
Life: 1535
Mana: 366
Armor: 486
Damage: 79.43

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#bZUXeT!Z!aa.aa

Notes:

I took Gruesome Feast as the level 20 passive on LiveCandles, figuring that it helps the most when mobs are numerous and battles are particularly intense – which is when it’s great to have a buff. It was very helpful in the palace battle, I believe. Still, I’ll probably switch the level 20 passive to Blood Ritual very soon, as a mana discount and (especially) life regen can also be a life saver, in hardcore. I’m also doing this to be able to switch to the Enchantress as LiveCandles’ follower later into the game, for general adventuring; her “Charm” ability and the “Reflect Missiles” ability will noticeably strengthen LiveCandles’ otherwise thin defenses, going forward. The Templar will always get the nod for boss battles, though, as he is far tougher than the Enchantress can ever be.

DeadCandles doesn’t get life regen from his follower, the Scoundrel, and so Blood Ritual is the clear choice for his level 20 passive.

Some Kulle wizard-type is up next; my character doesn’t trust Adria and Tyrael doesn’t trust Kulle (sp?), though, so my radar’s up; I’m betting there’s some double-dealing ahead.
Edited by candlelight#1376 on 5/27/2012 12:39 PM PDT
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05/27/2012 10:09 AMPosted by bobratchet
this was pretty interesting to read lol but i want to see how it ends
Thank you for the feedback, and I'm glad to hear that you find it interesting.

I level and then post, meaning that I don't know how it ends yet either. The first line in the first post will always be updated, after the most recent post describing the most recent events.
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Act 2: Aiming for Belial

Act 2 is where LiveCandles and DeadCandles have been gradually putting their mid-game builds together. I hadn't read any guides for Belial, but I had read enough comments in multiple threads about how deadly he is to be quite concerned that I'd end up losing one or both of them before I had figured out how to fight him. DeadCandles was the most likely victim for Belial because he lost the coin toss, and so he went first through each new part of the remainder of Act 2.

DeadCandles' Travels:

For DeadCandles, the nature of mobs fought almost doesn't matter, as his approach is consistent; haunt is usually used to open, grasp is then laid down to keep mobs away, Gargantuan cleaves through mobs with which it is engaged, and spiders leap and chew through everything. Spirit walk and horrify serve as defensive responses to being in a tough spot. The Scoundrel stays at roughly 20-33% as much DPS as DeadCandles when leveling, thanks to +40 to DEX dice and other +DEX gear; he's also very resilient, and so he has definitely been earning his keep.

The biggest difference for Belial, with whom DeadCandles did eventually fight, is that running around constantly while keeping haunt active and slinging grasp and spiders as often as possible was how Belial was brought down. Standing still would clearly have been suicidal. One potion was consumed, as Belial got a couple of hits in, but Blood Ritual healed up most of the incidental damage received and kept DeadCandles out of serious trouble. DeadCandles dinged 26 by defeating Belial.

Current Stats (upon arrival in Act 3)
Level: 26
Life: 2300
Mana: 400
Armor: 538
Resistances: 18
Damage: 128.93

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#bZUXTe!ZX!aaaaaa

LiveCandles' Travels:

LiveCandles became significantly easier to play as soon as Hex and Mass Confusion were put into the build; tough battles aren't always a “DPS race” anymore between mobs and LiveCandles, and that is clearly critical for his long term survival. Locust swarm has also been a revelation, as a single casting will clear spawns virtually on it's own; it's also very good for kiting. At no time after reaching level 22 was LiveCandles in any difficulty.

With LiveCandles having the benefit of having DeadCandles go before him, Belial was still a little scary the second time through, but more easily manageable because it was easier to read his attacks. No potions were needed, as Hex; Hedge Magic and the Blood Ritual passive life regen were more than enough to keep LiveCandles' life orb in good shape, until Belial was defeated.

Current Stats (upon arrival in Act 3)
Level: 26
Life: 2394
Mana: 400
Armor: 627
Resistances: 20
Damage: 131.68

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#aiURjS!ZX!aaaaa

Notes:

I re-ran two areas that I had cleared once before, after resuming the game and finding myself on a map I had previously cleared (an Oasis, or something like that, and the map that has Kulle's blood in two dungeons).

For LiveCandles' fight with Belial, Big Bad Voodoo was taken in place of Mass Confusion, Acid Cloud: Acid Rain was the replacement for Locust Swarm (I didn't know that I wanted to be close enough to cast Locust Swarm, so I wanted a power I could cast at range), and the Dire Bats rune was taken for Firebats (again, for range). As LiveCandles dinged 26 shortly before taking on Belial, the Hedge Magic rune was taken for Hex, and it was helpful during the Belial fight. It was cute seeing Kulle turned briefly into a chicken. But, I never did get to see Belial turned even briefly into a chicken – it would have been funny, if it's possible.

Act 3 is up next.
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PS to the above post for two points:

First, I'm the other "Candlelight", but this is my D3beta account, and it's the account on which I'll be posting in the future; the picture of a Starcraft icon is a little too dissonant.

Second, all guesses made for this death race have been cleared, with Belial's defeat. Now would be the time for fresh guesses.
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Act 3: Siegebreaker ... broken

The first parts of Act 3 saw both LiveCandles and DeadCandles pick up significant upgrades and a significant amount of leveling speed. Comparing the two, LiveCandles switched from being a “hard luck” character who kept struggling to being the more robust and effective member of this pair of soloists - even though he went first through all of what is summarized below.

LiveCandles' Travels:

LiveCandles has shifted into being easier to play than DeadCandles, at least for now, for two key reasons. First, he has much better overall burst and AOE damage than DeadCandles. Second, locust swarm functions like an industrial-sized can of raid against ants; the larger the spawn, the more rapidly it seems to take them down, especially when acid cloud (acid rain) is dropped on mobs that already had locust swarm applied to them. Because of locust swarm, I routinely find gold and other items well behind spawns that had been decimated, for mobs that I never even saw.

There were some mobs that stood out for how dangerous they could potentially be: Heralds of Pestilence, Soul Rippers, and Suicidal Fallens. But, all three can be addressed by staying out of sight / range of their most deadly attacks, at least in normal. And, in the end LiveCandles had a smooth run from the beginning of Act 3 until the defeat of Siegebreaker. The towers in Act 3 are next.

Current Stats (Defeated Siegebreaker, towers in Act 3 next)
Level: 29
Life: 3845
Mana: 475
Armor: 817
Resistances: 34
Damage: 274.03

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#aiURjS!ZX!aaaaaa

DeadCandles' Travels:

DeadCandles had a more difficult journey through Act 3, as his AOE damage comes from multiple sources and it doesn't have high peak damage; he wears mobs down instead of overpowering them, and that means he needs to stay in control of situations. He did get into trouble a couple of times, when swarmed from multiple directions, and the key reason was limited burst damage capabilities. For that reason, although I've been sticking with Leaping spiders for a primary, at some point I may try out Firebomb: Flashfire, to see if it helps out with crowds better than spiders do. Still, he did survive all the way through to defeating Siegebreaker, and the towers are next for him as well.

Current Stats (Defeated Siegebreaker, towers in Act 3 next)
Level: 29
Life: 3977
Mana: 430
Armor: 838
Resistances: 33
Damage: 214.66

Current build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#bZUXTe!ZX!aaaaZa

Notes:

Act 3 feels like an indirect warning shot about how much harder higher difficulty levels can be; some of the mobs are already dangerous on normal difficulty, if you don't pay close attention, and with the wrong mods in higher difficulties it is clear that some mobs in A3 can be absolutely deadly.

Shopping remains the single most reliably effective method for upgrading characters all through normal, it seems, although drops, the jeweler, and the blacksmith (crafting) are all also helpful.
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cool experiment. My Wd looks more like livecandles as i'm using poison dart splinters, mass confusion, locus swarm and firebats and no dogs or gargantuan, although I am using grasp religiously and I think that(and the meat shields) could be the difference in survivability between live and dead later on.

I'm gonna go livecandles dies act 3 of nightmare to some spear throwing elites.
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