Diablo® III

My MP-3 full clear continues

and everything is going swimmingly... almost. Mostly it's been relatively smooth, mostly just having to keep my cool and play intelligently to survive. Get frozen on poison at full health, wait it out and save Serentity for a real emergency. That sort of thing.

I've been using potions on occasion, but I actually haven't used Serenity or NDE... until now.

I just had a fight in the Khazra Barricade. Tight corridor and fighting an elite pack of those giant beasts. Arcane, waller, vortex, jailer I think. The really didn't want me going anywhere. There's a tree in there and guys throwing speas, too. I had to use Serentity. Twice.

Anyway, I invite you all to place your bets as to how far I make it.

( For comparsion the dead Monk on my profile died in MP-3 Black Canyon Mines. And I typically use Serenity about once with this Monk in the VotA on MP-2 )
Edited by Demiwraith#1534 on 3/28/2013 12:13 AM PDT
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I think you'll make it, but I predict Act 4 KW if you don't.

I think I'd rather have Hard Target than Backlash, which seems to work better on whites than blues and yellows (for me). And whites are almost never the problem.
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Well, I've cleared Act 1 this weekend; it's a good stopping point for the night. So far I've got a total of 4 Serenity uses and no NDEs, but I came closer than I should have a few times.

Vrk, thanks for the vote of confidence. Act 4 KW is pretty deadly and is probably the thing that scares me the most. That and the demonic tremor pack that was the only time I popped NDE on MP2.

Hard Target is always an option in the back of my mind. When I fight a pack of blues with a ton of the whites, Backlash seems to keep me at top life. It's when I'm fighting the blues alone and they're heavy hitters or trapping me with the right combination of CC + elemental that I feel like HT would definitely be better. Backlash also kills things quicker. It's also probably the best "lag protection" mantra.

HT gives me about 12% more life and eLpS. I think I would definitely be using Hard Target or Time of Need if I was running with 1200-2100 LoH like I think you do, because the extra healing from Backlash would be a much smaller factor.

EDIT:
...Because you mentioned it, I've just done some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations, and it seems that my DPS is low enough and I have sufficient other sustain sources that HT looks like it may be coming out ahead both in terms of eLpS except when I'm completely surrounded (about 15 enemies) and/or unable to hit things... Now I feel like maybe I should try it. But I fear change. Change is bad. Change is scary. I'm gonna sleep on it.
Edited by Demiwraith#1534 on 3/24/2013 11:45 PM PDT
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Drop to MP2 and try it.
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OP

I hope you are playing intelligently with your HC monk. Vrkhyz can afford to test out builds in whatever MP level he wants since he isn't playing HC.
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OP

I hope you are playing intelligently with your HC monk. Vrkhyz can afford to test out builds in whatever MP level he wants since he isn't playing HC.

That's why I suggested he drop down to MP2 to try it. Everything will have 70% of the health it has in MP3.
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Blown up in the Keep by one of those fat-sploder dudes!
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03/25/2013 09:35 AMPosted by Zuggles
Blown up in the Keep by one of those fat-sploder dudes!

Ah Zuggles... you're a man who likes to play the odds I see. Fallen Maniacs are an excellent bet. I haven't played this guy in the Keeps on MP-3 at all. I'll give you dibs on picking the entire Keeps level 2.

@jco & Vrk
I'm not sure what exactly playing intelligently entails. Probably not trying for an MP-3 clear, given the Serenity uses and experiences from Act-1. Also, I'm not sure if I can go back to MP-2 right now to test things or if that means I have to start over. I'm unsure what exactly the rules are of this whole MP-3 challenge thing. :)
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could happen in the oasis too! Boom! (Dang-it!)

But I think you'll get past that.
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Just want to offer my props to all the HC players. I know myself well enough to never play HC, losing all that time and effort would absolute freak me out, and likely make me quit for a while.

I think you HC guys are nuts, but hold great admiration and respect for you.

Good luck in your journey, I hope the drops happen for you and you make it to MP4 to start over again!
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OP

I hope you are playing intelligently with your HC monk. Vrkhyz can afford to test out builds in whatever MP level he wants since he isn't playing HC.

The more I think about this, the more I feel there's not much contest between the two runes, especially in HC. Let's look at what each one does.

  • Backlash: Deals extra damage when mobs miss you.
  • Hard Target: Mitigates damage when mobs hit you.

When it comes to keeping you alive, I think Hard Target is clearly the winner. Backlash uses a "MOAR DPS" approach to keep you alive. It's not a defensive skill at all. It only offers you a bonus when you're not getting hit. About the only thing it has going for it is the extra LS, but that's relatively small compared to LS from your actual non-Backlash offense.

When is Backlash best? When you're surrounded by mobs. When does that happen? When you're surrounded by whites, when you run into Horde and/or Illusionist, or when you're taking a stroll across the Fields of Slaughter. The first situation doesn't matter because players rarely ever die to whites that aren't labeled "Fallen Maniac." In the second case, you're going to take a lot of incoming damage, which Hard Target will mitigate. In the third, well, FoS is just a really dangerous area, but it's also full of a lot of ranged mobs (Hellflyers and Impalers, with an honorable mention for Heralds) that won't clump together and improve your Backlash output.

So what does Backlash really bring? It helps you a lot against mobs you can beat without it. It gives you better LS against certain melee packs, but Hard Target has the added advantage of making your effective sustain much, much more effective. How much better? Simple: In Demi's case, the extra armor increases his EL by nearly 13%, which means his effective sustain is also 13% better. Does he do 13% as much damage with Backlash as he does with his normal attacks? I haven't run the numbers, but color me skeptical. Against a typical pack, even with a few whites along for the ride, I'm thinking he won't.

I'm making this suggestion because I think Hard Target will help him stay alive better. I don't think there's much argument that it works very, very well, unless you think HC characters should routinely throw away 13% EL and eSustain in exchange for more situational DPS.
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The Backlash thing is a little more complicated. First dead enemies don't hit back, so there's that. If doing more damage didn't make you less likely to die, wouldn't you'd be using Hard Target instead of Overawe on your MP-8 quest?

Second, when you play with backlash, you play a little different. I focus completely on the blue guys and ignore the white guys. They'll die anyway, and they're actually giving me life and helping me kill the blues faster in some cases.

But the big concept to think about is not the average case. Which one works better on average isn't really a relevant question. Which one will provide fewer situations in which I die is probably the better question. If I'm trapped and slowly losing life during a fight and relying on my Life buffer to survive which is better: To kill the enemies more quickly or to lose life more slowly? (There's no obvious general answer to this) If I'm stuck getting repeatedly vortex/frozen/walled/jailed onto some fire chain guys, maybe Backlash makes me survive where Hard Target does not.

It's all situational, and "on average" isn't really the biggest concern because all the risk is in the tails. The real question is which ability has the fewest situations that get me killed. I know I've been in some situations where I was really glad Backlash helped me burn down my enemies faster. It's really hard to say which situations would have went better if I had Hard Target instead. The only thing I know for sure is that there aren't any situations I've encountered where Hard Target kept me alive and Backlash got me killed.

Like I said... change is scary. I really am thinking about Hard Target. But I can't throw math at it because the math that gets it right is a really good simulation of all the situations that come up. The only way I know to run those calculations is to play the game.
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If I'm trapped and slowly losing life during a fight and relying on my Life buffer to survive which is better: To kill the enemies more quickly or to lose life more slowly? (There's no obvious general answer to this)

I think there is, though: if your mitigation is sufficiently higher than the DPS, go with the mitigation. In other words, dealing 10% more damage or taking 10% less damage should be equivalent . . . or, at least, that's the way it seems on paper. Let's say a target has 1,000,000 life and deals 100,000 damage per second, and that you deal 100,000 damage per second. Without buffing any numbers, you will kill the target in 10 seconds and take 1,000,000 damage in that time.

  • If you do 10% more DPS, you kill the target in 9.09 seconds and take 909,090.09 damage during the fight.
  • If you take 10% less damage, you kill the target in 10 seconds but take 900,000 damage during the fight.

So taking 10% less damage is actually better for you. The only difference is the kill time. In terms of survivability, however, 10% more mitigation wins. The trade-off is that the extra time might cause you trouble with an arcane beam, plague pool, ice bomb, etc. And those are real concerns. But you have Serenity and NDE. If you're ready for MP3 with Backlash while barely using those skills, you can certainly drop to MP2, try both sets of skills across a single act, and see which works better for you. The risk is that you'll die on MP2. If you die with Backlash, though, it's essentially a given that it wasn't the right choice for MP3. If Hard Target isn't right, you'll discover this relatively quickly, and you'll still have NDE and Serenity to bail you out.

Anyway! Good luck :)
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@Demi

Test builds on your alt, not your main. Or test builds on your SC monk.

@vrkhyz

You should roll a HC monk.
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I should, really. I'm just not interested enough at the moment to play a monk that has no skills available to him. I'm getting there, though!
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Try out HC, you'll either enjoy it or hate it.
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My wife went to sleep early and I played much more than I expected to tonight. Probably stayed up later than I should playing a video game. Anywho, In Act 2, I cleared to the Oasis with no Serenity usage yet.

I always seem to forget that using MP means that the acts don't realy ramp up in difficulty the same way that they did the first time. If anything, Backlash seems better in Act 2 where the Snakes, Lacuni, and even dervishes are more fast attackers rather than the heavy hitters from Act1.

Only a couple of memorable fights. The toughest one was Nightmare, Frozen, Plagued, Arcane wasps. Not dangerous on their own, but I kept having to run into different areas, or was nightmared into diffrent areas. They led me to another champ pack of Fallen. Then another one of more wasps. Didn't have to fight all three at the same time, though.

A couple of near-Serenity moments. It seems like they all involve either Vortex or involve Waller and in a tight-corridor dungeon (like the Sirocco Caverns).

Anyway, all smooth sailing so far with 1 legendary (brimstone) and two set item drops. All in all, a good night for a few hours of play.

@jco
I probably should try and get equivalent DPS/mitigation/sustain gear on my SC Monk for testing different builds. If I skimp on the Life also, it would probably be dirt cheap. I don't really do HC Alts, though.

@Vrk
I was actually pretty sure I wouldn't like HC when I started it, and figured I'd give it up in a week or two.

@ Dailach
I was ceratin I'd be more upset when I lost my first character. I just sort of said "Dang it" and re-rolled. You get to start over and possibly try something new or a little different. I went with a slightly different concept of the gear and skills.
Edited by Demiwraith#1534 on 3/25/2013 11:22 PM PDT
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Good point about Backlash and the fast attackers. I've mentioned this several times to Mojo. I think I'll give Backlash a try next time I fire up Act 2 on MP8. I'll have to change FitL to Blazing Wrath, as blinding mobs doesn't allow them to kill themselves. Unfortunately, this means a big drop in my EDPS.
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Latest update: I'm at ZK's archives. Most dangerous place tonight: Sewers just before Shen. It's always the tight corridors that are most dangerous, usually with Wallers. In this case a blue pack:Waller/Desecrator/Arcane/Frozen. Not too bad, but I did get Walled then frozen.

Easiest pack of the night was the next one: Fast/Electric/Illusionist/Vampiric snakemen with a bunch of tiny floor eels. Must have got off a bunch of dodges and crits because I swear they backlashed themselves to oblivion in about 3 seconds.

Question: Is it just me or is Vampiric a non-issue at pretty much every point in the game for pretty much every class? I always think of it like it's not there.

Anyway, VotA: Until the very last one, it seemed like single Elite was either dervishes of Blazing Guardians. At least 5 such fights. First two dervishes were both arcane/moltenx/x, and I kited them all the way back the the beginning.

Dashing Strike is great on a lot of the Blazing Guardian fights. One of my favorite tactics: Every time the shoot fire at you, pop over somewhere else. Used that on a FireChain/Illusionist/desecrator/x fight. I'm hitting DS about once every couple of seconds, constantly bouncing around.

Another tactic: against Vortex/arcane guardians, place your body just slightly around a wall while fighting, if you can. When you get vortexed into the wall, you have a few seconds to run in there and do some fighting while vortex is on cool down. When they cast arcane turrets again, fall back to the nearest wall/corner and don't fight them untill after the next vortex.

Found a new amulet to replace my old one:
181 Vit / 343 armor/ 7.5%CC / 97% CD / 1979 LoK
replaces
159 Vit / 39 Fire resist / 9% IAS / 89% CD

I wasn't really looking to replace the 9% IAS because that means a little less LoH and I just generally start to feel sluggish, but it's other wise a clear upgrade. I've never really given much consideration to LoK, but I think as a supplimental form of sustain it might actually be quite helpful. Just focus down the elites and let the whites really help you even more than with Backlash+LS alone.

And who am I to pass on yet another form of sustain with this Monk. My current sustain is:
918 Life Regen
2.6% Life Steal
63.2 LpSS
501 LoH
1979 LoK

I'm seriously loving the build where everything I do seems to heal me. Hit things, kill things, use a Mantra, dodge an attack.. it all brings me back some life. Now I just need to get +12K to health globes on some piece of gear to round out my sustain stats...
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Nice job, Demi! And yes, that's how you fight Blazing Guardians. Watch out for the Noxious Guardians, though. The poisonous explosions when they die are much stronger than they used to be.
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