Diablo® III

Archon Skill and Runes Analysis

TL;DR: the main point is a suggestion to replace cooldown of skills in Archon form into spending arcane power. Also some changes to mechanics are suggested.

I've been playing Archon build for a while - mostly for item farming and paragon leveling since 1.03/1.04. All this time I've been trying out variations of Archon builds and would like to share some thoughts on design of the skill and particular runes.

In the analysis I present my subjective understanding of the skill/rune, what strong points there and what could be improved. I pursue 2 goals in my suggestions:


  • To make all Archon skill runes usable
  • Have players to make tough choice between these runes and try out all of them and not be able to stick with one in all situations (that's called "build diversity", isn't it?)


== The Skill ==

Archon is one of the top-DPS skills that work without active synergies for wizard. The goal of being in Archon form is to kill as fast as possible -- which is synonym of efficient farming. You want to stay in Archon form 99% of the time while it is assigned on your skills panel.

Strong points:

  • high DPS, massive AOE
  • "noclip" beam that shoots through most of the objects and all enemies
  • looks spectacular in highly-populated areas


Issues:

  • Since this is a channeling spell, you have to hold it to attack. And you stand still while attacking. Standing is not good, because you want to move as fast as possible to get more mobs, to make sure Archon won't run out
  • When Archon form is enabled, the set of skills to use shrinks which means less defense and less options for playstyle
  • In Archon form you don't use arcane power at all. Feels like a kind of waste of resources. From the other hand, AP on crit on items is not mandatory


Both facts that it is a channeling spell and you are limited in skill selection, put Archon wizard in a disparity with other classes in terms of mobility. All you have is your movement speed capped at 25% and you have to stand every time you attack...
The Scramble helps a bit, but it is nothing in comparison with Sprint for barbs or Tempest Rush for monks -- they can use these skills any time they want (and Archon wizard has to stand or slow down to take damage). And remember that Scramble is rune of Storm Armor, which adds no mitigation -- but in Archon form you have to have respectable level of mitigation due to limited set of defensive skills.

For Teleport rune see analysis below.

Improvement suggestion: if to eliminate skill cooldowns in Archon form (Blast, Teleport, Bubble) and instead require spending arcane power on them, it would improve quality of life of the Archon wizard. There will be incentive in gearing up for AP on crit (but still it would be not mandatory).

== Arcane Destruction Rune ==

"1600% damage - wow, that's a nuke" -- you might think. Well, you use it once and then wait up to two minutes when Archon cooldown is over. The logical problem is that this rune defeats the purpose of being in Archon form: you want to be as long as possible in Archon form, but to use this ability you must be NOT in Archon form.

I'd personally use it if this ability was in Archon form and frequently - then it seems competitive with other runes.

Improvement suggestions:

  • instead of explosion when you enter Archon form, just buff damage of Arcane Blast and Arcane Strike. This seems not changing the intent of this rune: deal more melee damage
  • also with this rune if to add 1 second of Archon form with every meelee strike, it could be worth using Archon build against ubers
  • replacing cooldown of blast with AP costs would allow more options in balancing game by adjusting AP costs


== Teleport Rune ==

Teleport is the distinctive skill for the wizard overall and in Archon form provides huge tactical advantage.

Cooldown is the issue:

  • even despite it is only 10 seconds instead of 16 in normal form
  • even despite in patch 1.07 cooldown will be affected by Critical Mass
  • even despite The Oculus reduces cooldown on Teleport (still doesn't work in Archon form, seems like bugged; and who needs that Oculus anyway?)


The cooldown on Teleport requires you to slow down to 25% or stop and attack and hope that Critical Mass will reduce it. But proc coefficient of Archon skills in conjunction with 35% of CM chance don't get the job done. As result, Archon wizard has significantly lower mobility comparing to other classes or CM build.

Improvement suggestion: just replace that cooldown with AP costs or at least implement mechanics similar to the Wormhole rune

== Pure Power Rune ==

Reducing cooldown of Archon to 100 seconds (from 120) doesn't seem competitive with other runes. Honestly, I don't see any benefit of this rune at the moment.

As I understand, the intent of this rune is to make staying in Archon form easier.

Improvement suggestion:

  • with this rune, make any buffs (armor, Familiar, Magic Weapon) not expire in Archon form, so that you don't have to exit and reset it. This opens possibility to farm in lower-populated areas
  • hell, why not allowing shrine buffs not expiring in Archon form with this rune? Oooh yeaaahh!


== Slow Time Rune ==

A decent defensive ability. Not competitive with Teleport rune.

Improvement suggestion:

  • what about redesigning it to do a more substantial party buff? Gives some incentive to play Archon wizard in coop games.
  • or maybe add one or two crowd control skills to the panel, such as Frost Nova (a big one for entire screen, please)


== Improved Archon ==

Gets the job done. The rune of choice for many (if not majority) players. But that's the problem: it is too good comparing to other runes.

I think this one doesn't need improvements.

== Conclusions ==

I think that these improvements should open new possibilities:

  • use Archon on higher MP with more damage (Arcane Destruction)
  • more choice to improve your build: either with passive skills or with gear, or both
  • farm lower-populated areas (Teleport, Pure Power)
  • just be more competitive with monks and barbarians
  • who knows, maybe Archon skill could become usable against uber bosses?


== Feedback ==

What do you guys think? Are these suggestions, in your opinion, going to make Archon builds more fun?
Edited by Antonio#1290 on 2/7/2013 8:35 PM PST
Reply Quote
i was thinking of changing some runes which removes the 1sec bonus per kill on mobs and changing it to 1sec per arcane power gained. It will be just like the barbs WOTB where we can sustain it long enough on higher MP's cause mobs die much longer, and hard to sustain on lower mp's but stil attainable ( like getting 25~30 APOC with 50%~55% crit chance mimimum required on single or 2 targets?)
Reply Quote
TLDR: No.

Archon differentiate itself from other form (wotb) due to having free spells and lengthen duration on kills.

Changing it to base on resources will have the following impact:-

1.Too much work to rework a mechanic on something which majority of archon wizards had build for. (Don't repair what's ain't broken, give it immune to CC if want additional buff).

2.Channeling skills have the following traits which are slow attack speed, resource regeneration. Again, several players include attack speed gears to optimize the free spells archon gave, and changing to your suggestion actually reverse their gearing intention.

3.Wizards have plenty of spells, and archon is about the last build that doesn't requires as much APOC. Apoc is a killing reason why majority of wizard gears is crap, or unaffordable and you only managed to get a maximum of 30 apoc if you're not wearing Tal Rasha's helm.

4.Letting archon form dependant on the amount of arcane gain (like wotb), will break the skill, since you're basically permanent archon, and you can maintain it even with just a single target. See how the barb will cry if Blizzard allows this. Even if need to 'spend' arcane in order to gain, much like wotb, archon players will need to gear like CM/Wizards already, so much for diversification.

Further, from my own perspective of each archon runes: -

== Arcane Destruction Rune ==
"1600% damage - wow, that's a nuke" -- you might think. Well, you use it once and then wait up to two minutes when Archon cooldown is over. The logical problem is that this rune defeats the purpose of being in Archon form: you want to be as long as possible in Archon form, but to use this ability you must be NOT in Archon form.


For your info, you can cancel archon form to spam this nuke and refresh with CM/ET.

== Teleport Rune ==

Cooldown is the issue:
even despite it is only 10 seconds instead of 16 in normal form
even despite in patch 1.07 cooldown will be affected by Critical Mass
even despite The Oculus reduces cooldown on Teleport (still doesn't work in Archon form, seems like bugged; and who needs that Oculus anyway?)


Illusion reset teleport cooldown in 1.07

And you cannot have best of both world. How can you move very fast, kill very fast and maintain all the survival benefits. Is there any reason to play other build anymore.

== Pure Power Rune ==

Reducing cooldown of Archon to 100 seconds (from 120) doesn't seem competitive with other runes. Honestly, I don't see any benefit of this rune at the moment.

Improvement suggestion:

with this rune, make any buffs (armor, Familiar, Magic Weapon) not expire in Archon form, so that you don't have to exit and reset it. This opens possibility to farm in lower-populated areas
hell, why not allowing shrine buffs not expiring in Archon form with this rune? Oooh yeaaahh!


I like this suggestion of yours very much. The 20 seconds is like chicken ribs. No meat but wasteful to throw because can but use to broil soup.

== Slow Time Rune ==

To me this is one of the coolest ability from archon form. A shield that follow you.

== Improved Archon ==

Deal more damage. Enough said.
Reply Quote
From your analysis it seems clear: nerf improved archon.
Reply Quote
02/06/2013 01:34 AMPosted by yems
i was thinking of changing some runes which removes the 1sec bonus per kill on mobs and changing it to 1sec per arcane power gained. It will be just like the barbs WOTB


Can't support this idea, because I like the "on kill" incentive to sustain Archon form.


2.Channeling skills have the following traits which are slow attack speed, resource regeneration. Again, several players include attack speed gears to optimize the free spells archon gave, and changing to your suggestion actually reverse their gearing intention.


I'd argue here that my suggestion concerns skills that have cooldown -- they would not affect Disintegration Wave and Arcane Strike. The skills I was mentioning -- Arcane Blast, Teleport, Bubble -- have nothing to do with attack speed.


3.Wizards have plenty of spells, and archon is about the last build that doesn't requires as much APOC. Apoc is a killing reason why majority of wizard gears is crap, or unaffordable and you only managed to get a maximum of 30 apoc if you're not wearing Tal Rasha's helm.

Don't forget that wizards have fast AP regeneration and as long as the channeling spell (Disintegration Wave) is untouched, the AP on crit won't be mandatory.


Illusion reset teleport cooldown in 1.07

Oh thanks for the info -- good to know.


And you cannot have best of both world. How can you move very fast, kill very fast and maintain all the survival benefits. Is there any reason to play other build anymore.

Well, other classes can move very fast and kill very fast -- as long as they have nice gear. But the wizard in Archon form is capped to 25% movement speed, no matter how godly the gear is.


From your analysis it seems clear: nerf improved archon.

That's your conclusion. My point was that the Improved Archon rune is too good comparing to others which creates less diversity.
Reply Quote
The thread title is misleading.

A retrospective would be an analysis of where we have been up until now, which would have been nice as a historical document since lots of things get forgotten as to how the mechanics and theory crafting operated though various iterations of the game.
Reply Quote
02/07/2013 03:50 AMPosted by Whisper
A retrospective would be an analysis of where we have been up until now, which would have been nice as a historical document


Ok, thanks for the feedback - renamed.
Reply Quote
I'd argue here that my suggestion concerns skills that have cooldown -- they would not affect Disintegration Wave and Arcane Strike. The skills I was mentioning -- Arcane Blast, Teleport, Bubble -- have nothing to do with attack speed.

I understand your intention, spamming Arcane Blast, Teleport and Bubble(not actually spamming) will make the game play dynamic and will be fun BUT

Don't forget that wizards have fast AP regeneration and as long as the channeling spell (Disintegration Wave) is untouched, the AP on crit won't be mandatory.

even APoc is not required upon your suggestion, ....
Well, other classes can move very fast and kill very fast -- as long as they have nice gear. But the wizard in Archon form is capped to 25% movement speed, no matter how godly the gear is.

your buff of 0 cooldown archon skill will now be dependable on your attack speed. In which ppl will likewise stack ias(not a problem) to improve the archon build. Here comes the problem.
A character with speed of 3 att/sec will be able to cast a single spell 3 times with the cooldown as intermittent to break the continuity, (see 0 cooldown zombie dogs witch doctor), and each and every single wizard will be using Archon with Teleport.

You will basically teleport like D2 sorc and this skill can never be balanced.
Too much arcane cost (able to only cast one teleport with max pool), skill useless.
A little less arcane cost (Teleport become spammable, since regen is insanely high, can be gain with apoc) and it will be unfair to rest of the other classes, not to mention other builds will but overcast.

If you check the price of Hammer of the ancient (cost reduction) and Zombie Dogs (cooldown reduction), you'll know that these item is ultra-duper expensive even without other beneficial stats.
What you're asking for now is having these 'similar' gears to be included into wizard by default.

Not that I dislike this buff, but i rather see skills fixed rather than changing the already commonly used skills. Again, Don't fix things that ain't broke.
Edited by HachiKumo#6695 on 2/8/2013 1:22 AM PST
Reply Quote

Please report any Code of Conduct violations, including:

Threats of violence. We take these seriously and will alert the proper authorities.

Posts containing personal information about other players. This includes physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and inappropriate photos and/or videos.

Harassing or discriminatory language. This will not be tolerated.

Forums Code of Conduct

Report Post # written by

Reason
Explain (256 characters max)
Submit Cancel

Reported!

[Close]