Diablo® III

WoL:Empowered Wave looks like the best option

After having tested numerous builds on the PTR it looks like WoL:empowered wave is far and away the winner.

The best build I found was:

STI, OWE, Exhalted soul for passives

FoT: quickening (makes passive spirit regen almost a non-issue), Dashing strike:quicksilver (for mobility and escapes, could use serenity instead), WoL: EW, SW: Cyclone, Overawe, BoH: blazing wrath.

The only other option I could find was LTK: Scorpion sting but if you want to be as efficient as WoL: EW you need reduced cost of LTK gear. The only way to do this decently is with amazing stat Skull Grasp (-4 LTK), SoJ((-5LTK) and Mara's(-5LTK). You can also get it on a shield (-5LTK)and get the cost down to 11 spirit at which point it becomes by far the most efficient spirit spender. Getting good gear with reduced LTK cost is very difficult though and there is no good way to search it on rings and amulets since it is ONLY available normally on off-hand items. I managed to be able to try it with a cost of 14 but the loss in DPS was so huge that WoL remained my best option.

With the reduced cost, good atk spd, spirit regen and a shield I think that a perma-stun monk should be possible. Even with a cost of 14 spirit it was very good. Get it down to 11 with decent stats on the mara's, SoJ and skull grasp and it could be pretty amazing. With 6 spirit regen from gear, +1 from exhalted soul at 2APS it would take:

22-7 = 15 spirit per second spent

250/15 = 16.667s before running out of spirit =~ 33 casts of LTK

With chant of resonance:

22-9 = 13.

250/13 = 19.2 s.

Now with a 2-hander the best you can do is 16 spirit for LTK. So if you go with a tempest rush style no atk spd build with crazy spirit regen you could theoretically do a LTK build where you didn't need a primary attack.

Problem is all the gear required for the LTK builds I don't believe even exists yet. So it is truly just theorycrafting at this point.

So in the end you can just use normal gear WoL:EW and be extremely effective or have a low DPS almost perma-stun or spend billions for a high DPS almost perma stun.

I tried the normal build from live on PTR and without snapshotting from FITL it is pretty lackluster IMO. Elite packs drop much faster from WoL. Just watch out for reflect :).
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Yes, yes, yes.

Please see my profile for another nice gear/skill setup.

I also tried a TON of LTK builds/gear-setups including -12 LTK cost and pretty much came to your conclusion above. Lol, I even had a build with NO spirit generator - it wasn't bad as spamming LTK-Scorpion/Ytar spawns cyclones!

If you really want to see returns/differences from spamming WoL-Empowered compared Overawe, you need 2.0+ attack speed and 50%+ crit chance.

Also, LTK visually seems to slow your attacks where as when you spam WoL there seems to be no visual delay so LTK might not actually be more efficient from damage/spirit cost. And of course WoL can do more damage hands-down if you position correctly with the added "line-damage."

EDIT: I have a NICE -5 LTK Mara's Amulet if anyone is interested... 99% sure I'm staying with WoL.
Edited by blhotz#1823 on 1/20/2013 8:05 AM PST
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I've compared Wave of Light and Empowered Wave for a few monks, including mine, and Wave of Light worked out better each time. I'm sure it's very gear- and skill-dependent, but I ran one set of numbers with Quickening and still couldn't make EW pull ahead.
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EW does the highest % damage/spirit point of any spender. You can drop 3 1200% WoL with 250 spirit or drop 6 800%. If you pulse overawe it gets better for EW as you hit 5 + overawe vs 2 + overawe.

FoT quickening is to fill up spirit as fast as possible for you to pulse overawe and drop down an insane amount of damage.

This is about efficiency of gaining spirit and spending it for the most damage possible.

This build is even decent on live and should be very effective for MP5+ exp runs with the huge exp bonus which may allow it to outpace TR builds. With godly gear WoL should be 1-shotting whites on MP10 and still killing elites very quickly. Unfortunately my PTR account got screwed up and I need to re-copy which appears to be bugged ATM so I can't test it 100% properly yet.
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Interesting, so would it be better to go 2-H or DW with WoL? One gets you bigger bells, but the other lets you spam them faster.
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01/20/2013 08:41 AMPosted by hong
Interesting, so would it be better to go 2-H or DW with WoL? One gets you bigger bells, but the other lets you spam them faster.

Better question is dual wield or use a shield ;). Look at Karandor and my profiles.

Pretty sure the "bigger bells" won't make-up for the spirit generation from 2.0+ attack-speed but I'd be interested in the math.
Edited by blhotz#1823 on 1/20/2013 8:49 AM PST
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The animation for WoL is so good that I would go dual wield or shield for sure. 2h spirit generation can never get anywhere close to FoT quickening with decent APS.

Did they change the cast time on WoL at some point? I remember using it before and it felt very clunky. Maybe my gear was just way worse.
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DW to gain spirit faster imo, just a guess though~
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The Bell has KB, Skorpion Sting does not. That sorta sealed WoL's fate for me. Maybe for g00bers though.
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01/20/2013 09:21 AMPosted by Teckno
DW to gain spirit faster imo, just a guess though~

A high crit chance shield will give you more spirit than +15% attack-speed ;).
Edited by blhotz#1823 on 1/20/2013 10:37 AM PST
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Just tried this build and it was extremely fun.
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@ blhotz

how much are you looking to get for the maras?
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4 Worgen Warrior
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I have a skull grasp with -4 LTK if any body is looking for one
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Guardians path works out well with wave of light when using a 2 hander. 35% extra spirit generation (when hitting and passive spirit regeneration) is huge, can fill up 250 spirit in 3 hits with fot quickening and a mob of monsters.

Plus the bells do huge damage with a 2 hander and slightly remove the constant knockback effect as the mobs die quicker.
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@ blhotz

how much are you looking to get for the maras?

Here's a pic - basically a crit damage/dex/fire resist -->


Can do 15 million. Could be a steal if these take off as quality -4/-5 LTK are really hard to find.
Edited by blhotz#1823 on 1/20/2013 8:04 PM PST
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01/20/2013 08:15 AMPosted by Karandor
EW does the highest % damage/spirit point of any spender. You can drop 3 1200% WoL with 250 spirit or drop 6 800%. If you pulse overawe it gets better for EW as you hit 5 + overawe vs 2 + overawe.

True, EW has the better damage-to-spirit ratio, but it has an inferior DPS because it does less damage over the same animation time. When you're comparing Wave of Light to, say, Blinding Flash, what you're really doing is deciding which of the following works better:

1. Using FitL all the time and sticking with TC.
2. Ditching FitL, taking lower TC damage, and pumping it with enough WoL damage that your average is better than option #1.

Ultimately, it's a problem with many factors, but the two biggest ones are DPS and spirit regeneration.

I'll use my monk as an example.Here's my build:

Faith in the Light
Hard Target
One with Everything
Seize the Initiative
Beacon of Ytar

If I carry this build into the PTR, my single-target EDPS, once Cyclone is at three stacks, will be 195,292.13. On the live server, it's 199,077.36. (I believe I've already explained these numbers in Fitz's "PTR Challenge" thread, so I'm not going to explain them here.)

Here are my relevant stats:
  • MH weapon: 686.04 AWD
  • OH weapon: 659.39 AWD
  • 2,130 DEX
  • 1.9239 APS (includes Focused Mind, DW bonus, and IAS gear)
  • 27.0% CHC
  • 244% CHD

WoL uses your MH for all damage, and it resets the active hand to the main hand, so you can put the weapon with the higher AWD in that hand and work wonders. For now, I'll assume that I'm using my Fist of Legend and the 686.04 AWD.

Let's assume I change Faith in the Light to Wall of Light, which delivers 1202% weapon damage, plus 45% to all targets in a straight line. (The 1202% is divided into three parts, for the record.) In that case, my Thunderclap DPS, which is now without FitL, drops to 170,666.00. For this first example, we'll also assume that I have no spirit regen on my gear, so my only means of regenerating spirit is attacking with Thunderclap. I get 6 spirit for every attack.

Wave of Light costs 75 spirit, so I will have to attack 25 times to generate enough spirit for 2 WoLs. To keep everything simple, we're just going to boil this down to 12.5 TCs per WoL.

How long does it take me to attack 12.5 times with TC? Well, my paper APS is 1.9239. Thunderclap has a 1.5 haste modifier, so my Thunderclap APS is actually 2.886 (all numbers rounded, of course). Each TC attack therefore takes 0.346514 seconds, and 12.5 of them take 4.33 seconds. At 170,666 DPS, this generates 739,227 damage. Remember these numbers; we'll come back to them later.

How much damage does Wall of Light do?

686.04 AWD
x 12.47 (1247% damage)
x 22.3 (DEX)
x 1.6588 (1 + 0.27 CHC x 2.44% CHD)
= 316,457

And how loing does it take me to attack with WoL? Well, Kaho shared some numbers, and he believes WoL has a haste modifier of 0.75. My paper APS is 1.9239, but my Fist of Legend's APS is 1.8304 (1.40 + 0.03, multiplied by 1.28 for my IAS bonus). Multiplying this number by 0.75 gives me a WoL APS of 1.3728, which means that this attack takes 0.7284 seconds.

So, let's recap:
  • Total damage: 739,227 + 316,457 = 1,055,684
  • Total seconds: 5.05986
  • DPS: 208,638.85

I'll save you the trouble of reading the same calculations for my Az'Turrasq, which does less damage but has a faster attack speed. Ultimately, it does around 1,043,390 damage in 4.99 seconds, which gives it a DPS of 209,136.49. (Surprise! How many of you thought the weapon with lower AWD would be better? I know I didn't. Didn't rule it out, though.)


So that's Wall of Light. What happens when we examine Empowered Wave? Only two things are different:

1. The number of times we need to attack with Thunderclap to use EW
2. The amount of damage EW does

The activation time is the same, which is why EW's DPS is inferior to Wall of Light's. The real question is whether I can spam it frequently enough to make up the difference.

First, Thunderclap. My attack speed is the same, and my Thunderclap DPS is the same, but I need to make 20/3 attacks. I need 2.31 seconds to do that; at a DPS of 170,666, those 2.31 seconds will produce 394,254 damage.

Next, Empowered Wave. I'm going to start with the Fist of Legend again, after which I'll calculate the Az'Turrasq damage, and we can pick the better option.

Because all the factors in Empowered Wave's damage are identical to Wall of Light except for the damage multiplier, I can take that number and reduce it as follows:

x 8.74 (EW's 829% plus the 45% straight-line damage)
÷ 12.47 (Wall of Light's damage)
= 221,799

Note that the animation time doesn't change; this attack still takes roughly 0.73 seconds.

That leaves us here:
  • Total damage: 394,254 + 221,799 = 616,053.5
  • Total seconds: 3.04
  • DPS: 202,747.10

My Az'Turrasq does around 607,437 damage in 2.97 seconds, which gives it a DPS of 204,682.13, which makes it the better choice for Empowered Wave, too. Probably not a surprise, given that it was better for Wall of Light, too.

So, let's recap for my monk:
  • Wall of Light EDPS: 209,136.49
  • Empowered Wave EDPS: 204,682.13

This is an edge of over 2% for Wall of Light. It's not a knockout punch, obviously, but it's certainly no worse. But Empowered Wave is "far and away the winner" only if you're worried about overkilling enemies constantly with an extra 85K per activation. I don't think this is a legitimate claim, however, as using EW means you'll use your burst skill more often. And what does that translate to? Right: more overkill situations! The extra TC attacks make it less likely you'll "waste" DPS if you're playing a low farming level and are worried about that sort of thing.

Oh—I almost forgot the tornado damage from the bells! According to a website I've used for proc coefficients, WoL has a procC of 0.11 for each of the first three hits, plus 0.11 for the straight-line shot. Kaho has also claimed this as a pair of 0.22 proc coefficients, which is functionally equivalent. Therefore, each bell generates the following tornado damage:

672.715 AWD (because tornado damage on the PTR changes as you alternate weapons)
x 22.3 (DEX)
x 1.6588 (CHC and CHD)
x 0.26 (26% per zap)
x 6 (six zaps)
x 0.44 (sum of proc coefficients)
x 0.27 (CHC to spawn)
= 4,612

This obviously benefits Empowered Wave more than Wall of Light because of the former's shorter cycle. The revised DPS figures:
  • Wall of Light EDPS: 210,060.87
  • Empowered Wave EDPS: 206,236.12


Now, spirit regeneration matters, too, but it doesn't necessary favor Empowered Wave. I'll give an example tomorrow. Also, remember that stats matter. What is true for one monk might not be true for another. Overall, though, I've analyzed enough cases that I feel somewhat comfortable saying that Overawe users should just stick with FitL over WoL because (1) they can't reasonably spam both and (2) they lose too much DPS if they choose not to spam Overawe. For non-Overawe users, however, I'll be mildly surprised if Empowered Wave turns out to be a "clear winner" for somebody, however we're defining that. Overall, I think the skill needs a damage boost (say, to 895% base damage), a better cost reduction, or both. The only advantage I see is that you could conceivably activate Faith in the Light and fire off three EWs, usually at the start of combat. (Of course, I dropped FitL for WoL in this example.) That advantage doesn't seem very large, though. If anyone spots any errors in my math, or can explain what makes EW better than Wall of Light, please let me know.
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I just thought of one advantage for Empowered Wave: because you can activate it more often, you can deliver more of that 45% straight-line damage during combat, especially against large numbers of mobs. In open, dense areas like the Fields of Slaughter, it might be the better choice for this reason; in tight quarters (like the Keep Depths) or sparsely populated areas (like Act 4), it's less attractive.
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Actually, the straight-line damage is better in the Keep Depths, due to all those narrow passages, doorways and choke points. That means the enemies have to line up to get hit. By contrast, in FoS the enemies come from all directions so you're less like to hit them all.
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