Topic (3): Gearing Path and Stat Targets
The reason why different players give numbers that are all over the place is because we all play with different styles and concepts. To enable our skill build to work as we want it to, we will need to gear accordingly. The most obvious example will be the hotly debated 1H vs 2H path. If you want to play with half the lifesteal, obviously your gear must have much higher mitigation.
Fortunately, the Skorn path is the most cost-effective way to clear the game at MP10
. For most of us, upgrading our gear is probably the longest (endless) journey.
To go along with the builds recommended in Topic (1), the bare minimum to be effective on MP10 is about 180k unbuffed DPS, 2800 Intel, 3250 Armor, 600 AR, 65k Life. Preferably with 5%-7% reduced damage from elites.
Why these numbers? These numbers allow a lifesteal Skorn user to take massive damage in quick bursts and survive to maintain the CoB channel.
Video proof - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYb7PwkMnh0
To balance the weakness in gear, Horrify:FA and JF passive must be part of the build, until you are geared well enough to remove the JF passive. For solo play, keep FA on your toolbar as it has other good uses, as shown in Topic (2). For group play, use the skills as you wish, as long as you understand the gear-build relationship.Recommended Stat Targets
I recommend > 200k unbuffed DPS (the more the merrier), > 3000 Intel, 3500 Armor, 700 AR, 65k Life, 5%-7% reduced damage from elites, to have a comfortable time for all game content at MP10. If budget permits, go as near to 50% unbuffed CHC as possible. Skorn is a weapon with high CHD. CHD on its own is useless, unless it is paired with CHC. Having a high CHC will bring out the full potential of the Skorn.What’s so special about 50% CHC? It is the breakpoint such that 1 out of every 2 ticks is going to be a critical multimillion damage tick, which also means that you will get at least 1 critical tick every second as long as you don’t die within 1 second and you’re hitting something, you will tank very well. If you die within 1 second, please reduce the MP level.
I find it essential to understand how to allocate the gear stats into different “compartments”. This will avoid very costly mistakes of getting on the wrong path and spending even more gold ($) to re-gear. Common gearing traps are getting Vit on weapons, and IAS on chest/pants. You may see other players doing well in those gear (or other fanciful gear combinations), but they may not be playing the same style as you. The more important question is: Do you have the gold ($) to make that gearing path suitable for you? Having IAS on chest/pants will severely reduce the defensive capabilities of those items. Where are you going to find the equivalent stats from other gear slots to make up for the defenses? Can you afford those items?Defensive Slots
Shoulders, chests, pants, and boots. Stack as much Intel, Vit, %Life, AR, Armor as you can. Special mention about Zuni boots – the 8% elemental damage is very helpful to the Skorn user, because the Skorn is a full “black damage” weapon.Offensive Slots
Gloves, rings, amulet, and weapon. Go all out for DPS on these slots – Intel, CHC, CHD. Whatever defensive stats you roll here, regard it as a bonus or go for such purchases if you can afford it.Balancing Slots
Helm, bracer, and belt. After placing most of the gear items, you will notice some weaknesses here and there (eHP, mitigation, DPS, etc). Use these slots to balance up your character. At MP10, a balanced approach is essential. Most of us will choose The Witching Hour belt, which can come with excellent DPS and eHP. At this point, I do suggest a Lacuni Bracer for the IAS and CHC (12% movement is very nice as well). Having 2 pieces of IAS gear is a good fit with mana consumption as well as the breakpoint APS bracket for CoB. Details at the end of this topic.
Keep your eye on your target total stats as you upgrade piece by piece. When you sort out your gear properly, you can upgrade 1 piece of gear without affecting a few other pieces. If you want more DPS, look at your offensive slots. If you want more eHP/mitigation, look at your defensive slots. Your overall stats and gear configuration will keep improving until you are able to clear MP10 comfortably.
Be warned though, when the basics are in place, every extra point of Intel or DPS stat is going to cost exponentially higher for the offensive slots, every extra point of Vit or mitigation stat is going to cost exponentially higher for the defensive slots. * Zuni 4-piece is a must (boots, helm, ring, chest).
** Everytime you change a gear item or skill, do the “stress tests” in Topic (1) to make sure you’re able to handle the MP level of your choice.The 50% CHC Dilemma
For a long time (about 6 months), I was torn with various ideas on how to get the elusive 50% unbuffed CHC. I considered Inna’s pants, Inna’s belt, Tal Rasha’s belt, any item that could possibily give that final 1% to reach 50%.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it is a psychological feel-good number (just like a 1399 DPS weapon versus a 1400 DPS weapon). The eHP/mitigation sacrifice is simply not worth the final 1% CHC.
When solo, I have my Scoundrel to help with 3% CHC. When in a group, that’s where teamwork and team spirit come alive, my friends are much better than my AI follower. Therefore, I do not need that final 1% CHC.Fire Element damage and Fire Skill damage
Video - http://youtu.be/9EATnnjClBkEDIT:
This section has been updated on 20 August 2013 because of new proven information about CoB mechanics and "wasted" damage
. Details of CoB mechanics are near the end of this Topic. To minimize the discrepancy of the "wasted" damage, I had to modify the test such that the APS of having Enchantress, without gloves (APS = 1.0974) is almost the same as the APS of wearing gloves, without Enchantress (APS = 1.0980). The difference in APS was only 0.0006 APS, which leads to an insignificant difference in the "wastage". Both of these configurations should experience the same "wastage" in DPS.
Don't be confused by the tool-tip and description, the 2 types of gear stats are very different!"Adds 6% to Fire damage" is added to the character sheet
, and buffs the black damage component of the weapon damage directly. The type of element does not matter."Fire skills deal 20% more damage" is calculated from the character sheet, and only affects skills that output "damage as Fire".
In our topic of interest, CoB deals Fire damage. After obtaining the "damage per hit" from our character sheet, CoB damage is calculated from half that value because 1 cast = 2 ticks, and the numbers we see are for each tick.
The glove used is:Magefist
Adds 2% to Fire damage
Fire skills deal 20% more damage
Intel 21 (worth about 1% damage from a base of 2215 to 2236)
-----------------No gloves, with Enchantress -------- With gloves, no Enchantress
Melee ------- 971 (Non-crit) --- 2428 (Crit) -------- 1002 (Non-crit) --- 2504 (Crit)
"Melee/2" -- 485.5 (Non-crit) - 1214 (Crit) -------- 501 (Non-crit) ----- 1252 (Crit)
max CoB -- 4645 (Non-crit) -- 11611 (Crit) ------- 5727 (Non-crit) -- 14317 (Crit)
multiplier --- 9.567 --------------- 9.564 -------------- 11.431 ------------- 11.433
Damage "with gloves" is about 3.2% higher than "no gloves", proving that "Adds 2% to Fire" goes into the character sheet, together with 21 Intel (worth about 1% increase in Intel). This is consistent with expectations, although we had extra 0.2%..
It may be due to the rounding of 971 or 1002, or both numbers.
For CoB multipliers,
If we divide "no gloves" melee damage by 2, we get a CoB multiplier of 9.56 (almost 10), consistent with the damage "wasted" and what we understand about CoB mechanics. When I added the glove, the CoB multiplier became 11.43. With the Magefist glove, multiplier increased by 19.5%, consistent with the Fire Skill stat. 19.5% on screen will show as 20%. The 0.5% could also be due to rounding error of the damage shown on screen.
CoB damage comparisons,
CoB damage "with gloves" is about 23.3% higher than "without gloves", for both Non-crit comparison as well as Crit comparison. We note from the Melee attacks that the glove brought 3.2% damage to the base calculation. The damage increase was expected to be 1.032 x 1.195 = 1.233 or 23.3%, exactly the same as the test outcome!Conclusion
"Fire skills" clearly add significant damage output that scales with the CoB channel. "Add % damage as Element" can be of any element type, and affects the character sheet baseline calculations.Gearing a New WD
Since this guide is about CoB using a Skorn, I suggest the initial gearing put priority on CHC, even if it means lower Intel initially. This will allow you to get a feel of the 50% CHC dilemma, and to experience how powerful a Skorn can be, even at the entry level.
The Zuni helm and ring are extremely expensive (for a good reason), so you may have to put up with 0% CHC on those items or go with 3%-4% if you have the budget for them.Armor and AR
Why 3500 Armor and 700 AR? When you "mouse-over" the Armor or AR on your character sheet, these are the numbers that you will see:
Armor ---------------- 3572 ---- 4030 ---- 7144 --- 8060
Damage Reduction 54.35% 57.33% 70.43% 72.88%
Difference -------------------- 3.5% ------------- 2.4%
AR --------------------- 594 ----- 697 ----- 795 ---- 901
Damage Reduction 66.44% 69.91% 72.60% 75.02%
Difference ----------------- 3.5% ----- 2.7% ----- 2.4%
There is diminishing returns at the higher end of the spectrum. Therefore, Armor and AR will reach a level where % damage reduction from elites/melee/range becomes significant. Even in unbuffed conditions, my 5% elite damage reduction and 4% melee damage reduction are already better than the equivalent 2 rows of gear stats. Under buffed conditions, the enhanced method of mitigation is magnified.
The only exception is ranged attacks, for which I will recommend the SW + Hex technique against the kiting mobs (yet another example of gear-build relationship).Special mention - the Chest armor and Ring are the only places where we can get % damage reduction from elites.
I chose to search hard for that stat on my Zuni chest, so that I can move away from the Litany ring and go all-out DPS on that ring slot. I also mentioned about the Bracer being a character balancing slot. Where I find potential weakness in my gear-skill (forget to FA, or having teammates engaging mobs nearby and not wanting to FA), the % melee damage reduction comes in handy against most of the hard-hitting sudden attacks.
When you see different recommendations from players, you will notice they have a different gear-skill relationship, which accounts for the different stat requirements.
Here is a short and sweet thread on mitigation, without too much arguments:http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9436963646#1How to evaluate a Skorn?
Whenever I look at a Skorn, I will consider:
1) Damage range (the range of white numbers per hit)
2) +% Damage stat (49% or 50% gives the flexibility of Ruby or Emerald in socket)
3) Intel – when all else are at the bottleneck, Intel makes all the difference
4) CHD – the reason why Skorns are popular
5) Lifesteal – the higher the better
When I was doing research on Skorns, I had 7 in my stash, DPS ranging from 1074 to 1397. To my surprise and amazement, I discovered that all the Intel + LS + Skorn listed on the AH are end-game quality!
Video proof - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciy4hqjQj1Y
Profile used - http://d3up.com/b/810671/wd-skorn-1074-dps-ah-lowest-dps
To avoid confusion, "End-Game" refers to doing all the quests from Act 1 through Act 4 and completing the game. Some players may want to add Ubers solo at MP10, since that is the most recent content in the game.Websites such as D3up allow you to make detailed study of your character.
Special thanks to KyKah for his feedback.
You can adjust and toggle active and passive skills to see how your DPS, eHP, and mitigation changes, you can simulate gear changes and see how your overall character is affected. Overall, an excellent place for you to evaluate your character and plan out your gearing path and upgrades.
In the profile example above, look at the right column, you will see:
Total Damage Reduction 87.13%
This is already inclusive of the help from JF passive. The “bare minimum” stats are actually weak for MP10, that’s why you need some synergy from the skill build to be effective.
Now click on the left column “Skills”, and “Activate” the checkbox for Horrify:
Total Damage Reduction 91.6%
You can also “Activate” Soul Harvest and see how the skill impacts the Intel, AR, and CoB damage. You get the idea now, do your own evaluation as you journey forward.
When all the gear items are in place, any Skorn better than 1074 DPS is just for ego and efficiency.
At the time of testing, my unbuffed DPS for the 7 Skorns ranged from 167k to 211k. The difference in the kill times was only 25 secs. This means, for the common elite packs in the game, the difference in efficiency may only be 10secs – 15secs, due to the high multipliers and leverage we get from CoB.CoB Mechanics (Part 1): Wasted Damage
*Special thanks to sssc, Nubtro, Wachati
for the research collaboration:http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9661246127?page=1
CoB begins channel at 500.5% damage and rises every tick until 1001% damage. This is a multiplier of 10.01 at maximum efficiency. However, we seldom get maximum efficiency and we always encounter some "wasted" damage.
The game calculates the
Tick Incremental Damage = [ (Half Melee Damage x 5.005) / (APS x 10) ]
The missing portion of the CoB multiplier comes from the way the Tick Incremental Damage is calculated. In my test, I had an APS of 1.45, which means I can expect 14.5 ticks over 5 seconds. I only enjoyed 14 increments instead of 14.5 increments. The final 50% of the tick increment value fizzled off, because in the game, we either get a tick or no-tick. The decimal point is discarded
If my APS is 1.49, 90% of the final tick increment value will fizzle off.
If my APS is 1.41, 10% of the final tick increment value will fizzle off, getting closest to the 10x multiplier.
It seems strange that slower sheet APS and lower sheet DPS can actually produce higher CoB DPS in-game, but it is true (accurate as at Patch 1.08).For practical purposes in-game, focus on the 3rd decimal place of your APS. It cannot be seen on the data sheet, it needs to be calculated. Always test your intended APS with cheap gear before gearing for very expensive end-game gear.
1.x0y, or 2.x0y. Make sure "y" is 1 or higher. This will lead to minimal losses in CoB DPS. The closer you get to 1.x01 or 2.x01 attack speed, the closer you will get to the 10.01 CoB multiplier
. The most losses will come from 1.x999999 or 2.x99999 APS.CoB Mechanics (Part 2): APS Breakpoints, Tick Frequency
Special thanks to Nubtro
, for excellent research work on the mechanics of CoB:http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/8796451628?page=7#121
He tabulated the following breakpoints-
aps - frames per tick - frequency - channeling cost per sec –
0.90000-0.90909 aps - 33 frames - 1.82 ticks - 60 mana
0.90910-0.93750 aps - 32 frames - 1.88 ticks - 62 mana
0.93751-0.96774 aps - 31 frames - 1.94 ticks - 64 mana
0.96775-1.00000 aps - 30 frames - 2.00 ticks - 66 mana
1.00001-1.03448 aps - 29 frames - 2.07 ticks - 69 mana
1.03449-1.07142 aps - 28 frames - 2.14 ticks - 71 mana
1.07143-1.11111 aps - 27 frames - 2.22 ticks - 74 mana
1.11112-1.15384 aps - 26 frames - 2.31 ticks - 77 mana
1.15385-1.20000 aps - 25 frames - 2.40 ticks - 80 mana
1.20001-1.25000 aps - 24 frames - 2.50 ticks - 83 mana
1.25001-1.30434 aps - 23 frames - 2.61 ticks - 87 mana
1.30435-1.36363 aps - 22 frames - 2.73 ticks - 90 mana
Look at the profile example again, the APS is 1.17 which falls under this category:
1.15385-1.20000 aps - 25 frames - 2.40 ticks - 80 mana
Lacuni is 9% IAS, and WH belt is 8% IAS. In hindsight, I could have bought a cheaper 8% IAS Lacuni and still fall within the same APS bracket. Although the sheet DPS shows higher number for higher APS, my eDPS casting CoB at 1.16 APS is actually higher than 1.17 APS (see CoB Mechanics Part 1 above).
If I purchase or craft another glove with 9% IAS, I will skip one APS bracket and fall under this category:
1.25001-1.30434 aps - 23 frames - 2.61 ticks - 87 mana
Then the important consideration is whether my gear and build can handle that level of mana consumption. When using SW:Honored Guest, I'll probably be slightly negative on mana, but the channel can still be maintained for a long time.Combining the knowledge from the CoB Mechanics above, we get super breakpoints at APS of 1.201, 1.305, 1.501, 2.001.CoB Mechanics (Part 3): Mana Consumption, -FB casting cost, PTV and BR
*Special thanks to GunnersDream
for the excellent frame by frame analysis:http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9572528254?page=1
The reduction from the -FB gear is only half value per "cast", or quarter value per "tick". The initial casting cost is reduced by a quarter value of the -FB item.
This means the initial cast is missing three-quarters of the -FB value
, and the subsequent channel maintenance is missing half the -FB value
. As at Patch 1.08, Blizzard has done a terrible job on the gear stat description.Pierce the Veil
works exactly as described.
Initial cost = 287
Cost per tick = 43Blood Ritual
works exactly as described.
Initial cost = 188
Cost per tick = 28
* This portion has been updated as we now know the behaviour of -FB gear stat. Although -FB stat scales with APS, we were short-changed by getting only half the -FB value. The cross-over APS is very high (about APS = 2.5) for -12FB to become as effective as +14 Mana Regen.
As another example, -10FB SoJ needs about APS 3.0 to be more effective than +14 Mana Regen.To SoJ or Not?
That is the question!!
I'm definitely not top-geared, but let's just assume that I am, and that I've used up all the other means to increase my DPS (including +average damage stat). To push the DPS limit for the Skorn path, I only have 2 choices now:
1) equip a 6%/30% SoJ
2) get more IAS on gear
I'll use this profile as example now - http://d3up.com/b/826735/p100-price-details#gear
Unbuffed DPS = 211k
When I take out my Outcast Loop ring and put on the SoJ,
Unbuffed DPS = 180k, DPS to Elites = 234k (11% increase from 211k)
Since this is a CoB build, the SoJ will be -10 to Firebats casting cost. This is great news for mana management!
Instead of just the gloves (say 7% IAS), I can go and purchase a trifecta Zuni ring with 7% IAS. Total 14% IAS added (1.31 APS now), and I will be under this category:
1.30435-1.36363 aps - 22 frames - 2.73 ticks - 90 mana
Being "top-geared", my mitigation is not a problem, neither is gold ($). I can remove JF passive and put in SA passive to support my higher APS. The higher base mana from gear, and SA passive may even allow for another piece of IAS to punch the next APS breakpoint.
DPS to elites jumps to 262k unbuffed for APS 1.31! Add > 100% DPS buff for group play gives half-million DPS before starting the CoB channel.So what about the 50% CHC dilemma? Going SoJ means my maximum possible CHC drops to 43%, but getting 2.73 ticks per second means that I will still be getting 1 critical tick every second (mathematically). Survival is not affected at all.
This flow of analysis and simulation is just an example of how you can push your WD to further limits, while staying on the 2H path. 1-Handers can also use this simulation method to map out and plan for gear upgrades.Belial and Ghom Tests using SoJ with just 187k unbuffed DPS
Tanked Belial and killed him without moving, just 38 secs needed
, average critical tick = 4M damage. Very few players in the world can beat that timing, even with top gear. This is a demonstration of gear-build synergy, using high leverage of CoB damage.
and... Ghom at 25 secs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSIQbZa6E98&feature=youtu.beAdvanced gearing for Skorn (SoJ & IAS)
When all the mitigation and other DPS stats are in place, Skorn WDs can really push their DPS to higher limits.
IAS Gears APS Mana/sec Remarks (Using BR & SA passives)
3 pc ------- 1.21 -- 83 ------
3 pc ------- 1.26 -- 87 ------ BR, SA, no SW = Mana +ve
4 pc ------- 1.31 -- 90 ------ BR, SA, no SW = Mana -ve, channel >10 mins in town
5 pc ------- 1.37 -- 95 ------ BR, SA, need SW = Mana +ve
5 pc ------- 1.43 -- 99 ------ BR, SA, need SW = Mana +ve
6 pc ------- 1.51 -- 105 ----- BR, SA, need SW = Mana +ve
* Note: I only used 1 ring for IAS, because the other ring is reserved to slot in an SoJ. WDs that are not fond of SoJ can stack IAS on glove, both rings, amulet, belt, (bracer or pants) - 6 pieces total, without affecting your current survival.Using SoJ -6FB & BR passive, without the need for SA passive.
A higher FB reduction SoJ will perform even better. SoJ frees up 1 passive slot, and delivers much higher eDPS against elites. Adding even more IAS pieces is not practical.
IAS Gears APS Mana/sec Remarks (SoJ & BR passive)
0 pc ------- 1.0 ---- 66 -------
1 pc ------- 1.08 -- 74 -------
2 pc ------- 1.16 -- 80 ------- no SW = Mana +ve
3 pc ------- 1.21 -- 83 ------- no SW = Mana -ve but channel >8 mins in town
3 pc ------- 1.26 -- 87 ------- need SW = Mana +ve
4 pc ------- 1.31 -- 90 ------- need SW = Mana +ve
5 pc ------- 1.37 -- 95 ------- need SW = Mana +ve
5 pc ------- 1.43 -- 99 ------- need SW = Mana +ve
6 pc ------- 1.51 -- 105 ------ need SW = Mana -ve, channel about 6 mins in town
A 2H Mace or 2H Polearm will be even more mana-efficient.Simulated High-End Gearing for Skorn
Profile - http://d3up.com/b/833484/july-2013-gear-config
Following the SoJ path, we stick to the 5 pieces of IAS gear to remain mana positive, without negative impact on defences.DPS 236,437.6
DPS vs Elites 307,368.88
Attacks per Second 1.44
+% Attack Speed 44%
Critical Hit Chance 42.5%
Critical Hit Damage 511%
MH Weapon Damage 164,192.78
All Resist 650.1
Block Chance 0%
Dodge Chance 15.95%
Armor Damage Reduction 52.19%
Total Damage Reduction 86.74% (with JF passive)
Maximum Life 66,270.86
HP:EHP Ratio 1:7.54
Life Steal 5.4%
Life per Hit 425
Total Life Bonus 46%
Life per Second 1,325.42
Life per Kill 0
Health Globe Healing Bonus 0
Bonus to Gold/Globe Radius 7 Skorn with > 300k DPS against elites is a reality, if you can afford it.